President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order to lift the ban on transgender people serving in the military that was enacted during the Trump administration, according to several reports on Sunday.
Former President Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he was reversing an Obama era policy that allowed open military service to transgender people. The plan was implemented later in 2019 after a Supreme Court vote.
The news comes after Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office extending federal non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. Lifting the restrictions on open service for transgender people is expected to be one of the first actions of the order, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal also reported that Biden wanted to wait on signing the executive order until his nominee for Defense Secretary, retired Army general Lloyd Austin, was confirmed by Congress. Austin’s first day is set for Monday after he was approved by the Senate on Friday in a 93-2 vote, becoming the first Black secretary to helm the department.
During Austin’s confirmation hearing, he expressed his support in repealing the ban on transgender military members in response to a question from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.
“I truly believe … that if you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve,” Austin said. “And, you can expect that I will support that throughout.”
After the Supreme Court the measure in 2019, the Department of Defense maintained that it was not a universal ban, saying that it applied to those with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria. It allowed transgender troops to serve, but required that they do so in their biological sex.
The policy also disqualified transgender people who had transitioned or required medical transition, citing “considerable scientific uncertainty” and blurred lines “that demarcate male and female standards,” according to a memorandum released at the time.