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Pentagon announces new policies on transgender troops, reversing Trump-era ban

The Pentagon announced Wednesday updates to its policies regarding transgender members of the military that restore the 2016 guidance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and provide access to medical care. The changes will take effect in 30 days. 

The updated policies prohibit discrimination on gender identity and provide a means to access into the military in one's self-identified gender and provide a path to those in service for medical treatment and gender transition to one's self identified gender. 

Stephanie Miller, the Pentagon's director of accession policy, told reporters that 2,200 individuals inside the military services are medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria and may be seeking or have completed medical care. 

In an executive order in January, President Joe Biden reversed the Trump-era ban on transgender troops serving in the miltiary and instructed a review of policies that could be discriminating. 

Mr. Biden directed the Department of Defense to submit a report to the president on their progress in implementing the directive in 60 days. 

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday that the 60 days expired last week, and policy makers were going through what they've learned over the review process.

The Pentagon announced the updated policies Wednesday, coinciding with Trans Day of Visibility.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Ausin in a statement posted to Twitter wrote, "Trans rights are human rights, and on this #TransDayOfVisibility, I'm pleased to announce we've updated DoD policy on the open service of transgender individuals. The update reinforces our prior decision to allow recruitment, retention, and care of qualified trans individuals."

In response to the January executive order, the Department of Defense also directed a review of any service member separated, discharged or denied reenlistment. This review effort is ongoing, according to Kirby. 

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