President Joe Biden is expected to repeal former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military as early as Monday, according to a source familiar with the plans.
The policy, which has been roundly derided by LGBTQ activists as cruel and irrational, was first announced by Trump in July 2017 via Twitter. The ban specifically blocks individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition known as gender dysphoria from serving with limited exceptions. It also specifies that individuals without the condition can serve, but only if they do so according to the sex they were assigned at birth.
The White House declined to comment on the plans. White House press secretary Jen Psaki had said in a statement last week that the administration would lift the ban through an executive action in the early days or weeks of Biden’s presidency.
CBS News was first to report the expected repeal coming Monday.
While Trump had argued that transgender troops in the military would lead to “tremendous medical costs and disruption,” a 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs.
The study put the number of transgender people in the military at the time between 1,320 and 6,630. Gender-change surgery is rare in the general population, and the Rand study estimated the possibility of 30 to 140 new hormone treatments a year in the military, with 25 to 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members annually.
The cost could range from $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year, an amount that would represent an “exceedingly small proportion” of total health care expenditures, the study found.
Trump’s decision reversed a policy initially approved by the Defense Department under former President Barack Obama, which was still under final review, that would have allowed transgender individuals to openly serve in the military.
The Trump administration for years had reversed, dropped, removed and withdrawn established LGBTQ protections and had been particularly hostile toward transgender Americans.
Among its most criticized moves was an effort last year to roll back an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender. A federal judge blocked the repeal over the summer, ruling it had violated a recent Supreme Court decision.
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