What they are saying about Biden’s executive order that lifted transgender military ban Updated for 2021

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Updated: March 5, 2021

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday was joined in the Oval Office by Vice President Harris, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley to sign an Executive Order that sets the policy to ensure that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve – reversing the ban on transgender service members.

President Biden said he believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity.

Here’s what they’re saying about the executive order:

National Center for Trans Equality: This is a *decade* in the making and here’s how we @transequality, @Sparta_Pride & @Transveteran and many others) did it! Thank you @POTUS @TransMilitaryBan #TransBanRepeal [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Human Rights Campaign: President Biden made repealing the trans military ban a major part of his LGBTQ rights platform. We are grateful to @POTUS for taking this important stop and will continue fighting to advance equality in the military. [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Emma Shinn, President of SPART*A and Marine Corps Captain: “President Biden’s restoration of open service recognizes transgender service members as an integral part of our military and closes a dark chapter of history. I am elated that the approximately 15,000 transgender service members proudly serving across the globe can rest easier knowing that their service to our nation is seen, valued and that they can continue to serve as their authentic selves.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

Jennifer Dane, MMAA Executive Director and Air Force veteran: “President Biden’s action to reverse the ban is a tremendous victory for inclusion in the government’s most diverse organization. The move enhances national security by allowing otherwise qualified Americans to serve their country and for transgender people already serving to reach their full potential. [Press Release, 1/25/21]

TransMilitary: “Finally the nonsensical ban against transgender people serving in the United States military is gone, for good. We are extremely proud of all the troops who had the courage to speak up.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Patricia King, a US Army veteran and the first transgender infantry soldier, via VoteVets: “The transgender community has been told once again that we can serve the nation we love, we can be heroes, and that we belong everywhere that life is lived. We have been shown once again that unique perspectives, combined with shared ideals make us stronger.” [Statement, 1/25/21]

Out in National Security: “We applaud the Biden Administration’s undoing of the transgender service ban. This is a promise kept: that all Americans can serve their country proudly. We look forward to continuing to advocate for and advise as these critical policy changes unfold and are implemented.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

NGLCC Co-Founders Justin Nelson & Chance Mitchell: “The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce applauds President Joe Biden for ordering the armed services to once again welcome the brave transgender citizens willing to serve, and even die for, their country. This historic move for military inclusion further cements the Biden-Harris Administration as the most diverse and most pro-LGBTQ in American history— which were among the many reasons for NGLCC’s endorsement of their campaign in 2020. Transgender Americans are a vital part of every facet of American life, from growing our businesses to keeping our families safe through military service. President Biden is strengthening the work he helped lead under the Obama administration, which ended an 18-year ban on gays & lesbians serving openly in the military, ensured same-sex partner benefits, and expanded workplace protections to LGBT federal contractors throughout the service branches– citing moral and economic imperatives for doing so. Unlike his immediate predecessor, President Biden’s administration recognized the damage blocking America’s transgender service members would do to our military readiness and economic health… We look forward to working closely with the Biden Administration to expand economic opportunity and inclusion at every level of the private and public sector, including in military services and defense contracting.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

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GLAAD: “The American people, military leaders, and service members themselves, all overwhelmingly support transgender military service. They know that brave trans patriots have served throughout history and continue to serve honorably and capably, defending our country. By prioritizing an end to this discriminatory, unjustified ban, President Biden has fulfilled a campaign promise and is making our military stronger and more unified.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

IAVA CEO Jeremy Butler: “IAVA has strongly opposed the ban since its enactment in 2017, and as the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment, advocacy and support organization, we firmly stand in support of our transgender troops and veterans and in support of equality. We thank President Biden for his commitment to equality among servicemembers and we applaud his swift action in repealing this exclusive policy.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

Brian K. Bond, Executive Director, PFLAG: “Today, President Biden rectified a grievous harm to our military caused by former President Trump’s trans military ban. When the past administration issues its ban on service by transgender people in 2017, they not only affected those who wear the uniform. They also impacted military dependents, including PFLAG military families across the country, who found themselves shunned on base, or without adequate resources for health care, education, and safe housing simply because the servicemember or their family member is transgender. There is still work to do to ensure harm to our military families can no longer be caused by the stroke of a pen. PFLAG commits to working with Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to completely end ‘Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Susan R. Bailey, M.D., President, American Medical Association: “The AMA welcomes the President’s decision to reverse the policy that largely barred transgender people from serving in the military because there is no medically valid reason to exclude them. Transgender people have served our country with honor, and they should be allowed to continue doing so. Ending this discriminatory policy is a win for all patriotic Americans who want to serve their country.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights: “An integrated military, inclusive of all LGBTQ service members, is not only a sound military approach but a moral imperative. But be clear: there is more to do to ensure trans people are treated fairly everywhere.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Andy Blevins, Operations Director, Minority Veterans of America: “Today, President Biden directed his Defense Department to finally rescind the Trump-Pence Administration’s unconscionable ban on open transgender military service. Initially removed under the Obama Administration, the re-institution of this unwarranted ban, via tweet, will forever be a mar on our nation’s military history. We applaud the President’s commitment to an equitable and just all-volunteer military force and look forward to working with him and Secretary Austin as we move towards a smooth and expedient transition.” Andy is a Navy Veteran and the spouse of a transgender Army veteran. He currently leads operations and policy initiatives with MVA.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

The Mission Continues: “We are proud to see the overdue end to the harmful and divisive ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. America’s military is stronger and more effective, at home and around the world, when it is inclusive. Transgender service members and veterans have been, and continue to be, critical leaders to this country and in the communities that need their talent and skills. We’re glad to see all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces, be able to do so as their authentic selves.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Elizabeth Dole Foundation: “Today, we’re celebrating with @MinorityVets, @LGBTQ_Military, and @sparta_pride. We believe that all who desire to serve their country should be able to do so, and are grateful to @POTUS for signing an executive order repealing the discriminatory transgender military service ban.” [Tweet, 1/25/20]

Military Family Advisory Network: “The majority of MFAN’s survey respondents said they supported transgender ban takes us another step closer to connecting what military families see as true, real, and needed with the policies and decision that can create real impact and change for everyone who wears the uniform, and for those they love.” [Facebook, 1/25/21]

Winnie Stachelberg, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress: “President Biden’s executive order rescinding the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military is another important step toward reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to equal rights and protections under the law for LGBTQ Americans. Donald Trump’s ban was dehumanizing, harmful to military readiness, and rooted in the same bigotry that defined his entire administration. Military personnel disagreed with it. Human rights activists disagreed with it. The American people disagreed with it. President Biden’s swift and decisive action to repeal the ban ensures that no American will be forced to choose between living openly as themselves and serving their country. There is still much work to be done, including the passage of the Equality Act in Congress. But in just its first week, the Biden administration has reversed many of the worst policies of the previous four years.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Today is a day of great hope and progress for thousands of heroes in our military and indeed for our entire country, as the Trump transgender ban is thrown into the trashbin of history. Led by President Biden, America is restoring our proud pledge: that no one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are. The Trump ban was a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans who have stepped forward to serve our country. The Biden-Harris Administration and Democratic Congress will continue to reverse this and other discriminatory actions that weaken our military readiness and betray our core American values. Democrats’ defense strategy will be dictated by the priorities of security, stability, peace and American values – not the hate and prejudice that defined the Trump presidency.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: “This is big news: President Biden just lifted the Trump administration’s heinous, discriminatory ban on transgender Americans serving in our military. Trans rights are human rights!” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “No Americans should be turned away from serving in defense of their country simply because they are transgender. The Trump Administration’s ban on transgender Americans serving in uniform not only ran counter to the values and principles of our nation and our democracy but also shortchanged our national security by denying the military the full talent and experience available to serve. That ban failed to recognize the contributions of patriotic transgender people who had been serving with distinction and in mission-critical roles supporting our troops in the field. Today, that sad and dangerous policy comes to an end. I was proud to help lead the effort in 2010 to end the discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ policy that banned LGBTQ Americans from serving openly in our Armed Forces, and today I applaud President Biden and Secretary Austin for taking this important step back toward a stronger military that reflects the best of America.” [Press Release, 1/25/21]

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin: “This discriminatory policy had no place in our military and I am glad to see President Biden agrees. Any American who meets the basic requirements to serve should be able to do so.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Wisconsin Sen. Baldwin Tammy Baldwin: “It was wrong for Trump to ban patriotic, qualified Americans who want to serve our country. I applaud @POTUS for taking this action and standing with transgender servicemembers who strengthen our military and fight to protect our democracy and freedoms.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline, Co-Chair, Congressional Equality Caucus: “Anyone willing to serve in the Armed Forces should be treated with respect. @POTUS Biden’s decision allowing trans Americans to serve openly brings us closer to ensuring every American has the same rights and opportunities no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

California Congressman Mark Takano, Co-Chair, Congressional Equality Caucus: “To have this be one of @POTUS’ first acts as Commander in Chief is a relief after four years of bigoted attacks against trans people from the previous Administration, and it’s a major step toward creating a welcoming culture in our armed forces for all LGBTQ+ servicemembers.” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth: “If you are willing to sacrifice for our country and can do the job, you should have that opportunity—no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. Thank you, @POTUS” [Tweet, 1/25/21]

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