Press Release • January 25, 2021

President Biden Reverses Trans Military Ban

Equality NC Applauds President Joe Biden's Reversal Of The U.S. Military's Ban On Openly Transgender Service Members

More than 91,000 active military personnel and 790,00 veterans reside in the Tar Heel State.

RALEIGH, NC – Today, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order that "sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve." The move ends a ban on openly transgender military service members by the Turmp administration and is expected to impact roughly 15,000 troops.

Former President Donald Trump's attempts to ban transgender people from military service were first announced via Twitter in 2017. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis later clarified the messaging by officially stating that the ban applied to people with gender dysphoria or individuals not identifying with the sex they were assigned at birth.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer servicemembers have been able to openly serve since 2010, while transgender people were forced to wait until former President Obama's historic actions in 2016. Former President Donald Trump's tweet undoing that progress was part of his administration's ongoing, larger campaign against the humanity of transgender people.

Ames Simmons, Policy Director of Equality North Carolina, said:

"The transgender military ban had a direct, harmful impact on our transgender community members -- particularly Black, Latinx, and Indigenous transgender people for whom the risk of discrimination is heightened. Trans people are more likely to be living in poverty, and while military spending continues to dwarf measures that increase equity for transgender people, the military is one of the biggest employers of trans people. Trans North Carolinians can now look to brighter possibilities for living authentically while earning a living and building a life."

Kendra R. Johnson, Executive Director of Equality North Carolina, said:

"Our transgender and gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings put their lives on the line through military service every single day -- including during the years that this ban was in place. Now, they are finally free to serve their country openly and authentically as we continue to move forward from the legacy of anti-LGBTQ attacks by the previous administration. There is still so much work to be done, but it truly is truly a new era in American history."

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Equality North Carolina builds LGBTQ+ power through advocacy, education, and uplifting the stories of queer and trans North Carolinians in pursuit of racial and social justice.

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