President Joe Biden’s defense secretary Lloyd Austin said he supported overturning the Trump administration’s policy on transgender troops serving in the military during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
In response to a request by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to confirm his commitment to overturning the policy, Austin said:
I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban. I truly believe, Senator, that as I said in my opening statement, that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve. And, you can expect that I will support that throughout.
As previously reported by Breitbart News, the Trump administration’s policy prohibited transgender individuals with gender dysphoria to serve in the military, unless they were deemed stable for 36 months and willing to serve in their biological sex. The policy grandfathered in all transgender troops, including those with gender dysphoria.
Anthony Kurta, a senior Pentagon official at the time, said that the Trump administration’s policy came about after the military service chiefs requested a review of the previous policy under the Obama administration.
Kurta told reporters, “When Secretary Mattis came in to office, he was approached by the service leadership because we were getting ready to, under the 2016 [former Defense Secretary Ash] Carter policy, we were getting close to starting the accession of transgender individuals.”
He said, “The service leaders expressed some readiness reservations to the secretary, and he said therefore, ‘I will take a look at the policy,’ and he ordered a review of that policy, later to include empaneling the panel of experts and then that panel made a recommendation to the secretary. He took that onboard, gave his best military advice to the president, the president approved that recommendation and told him to go ahead and implement the policy.”