HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In his first week as Commander in Chief, President Joe Biden isn’t wasting any time with his campaign promises.
One in particular is aimed at advancing the rights and eliminating discrimination for the LGBTQ-plus community.
The first executive order relating to the LGTBQ community was issued by President Biden last Wednesday. It directs all federal agencies to review its policies to ensure no one is discriminated against based on gender or sexual orientation.
But the order issued Monday, January 25 takes it one step further, overturning President Trump’s 2017 decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.
The order also directs the defense secretary to review the records of anyone discharged from the military based on gender identity and either change their status or allow them to reenlist.
“All transgender individuals who wish to serve in the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination,” that’s a direct excerpt from the executive order.
Lori Ellison, The Assistant Director of Rocket City Pride, an advocacy group for those who make up the LGBTQ+ community, is pleased to hear this news.
“It boils down to this, if there is a citizen of this country who is willing to go and fight and die for our freedoms, why should something as simple as their gender identity, or expression or the pronouns they prefer stop them from protecting me,” Ellison said.
But what will this order mean for the Military, logistically?
“Every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and two, our side of the battle field can never be too crowded,” Jay Town said.
However, Jay Town, a former U.S. Attorney and Marine says there is a lot of work ahead.
“The two executive orders issued by President Biden regarding gender identity offer really no guidance at all on how these policies should be implemented,” he said.
Town says now the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Secretary are tasked with identifying any challenges that may come from this.
“Basic training is normally separated into platoons that is identified by gender. How are you going to have basic training with someone who identifies as a female, but is a biologically a male and therefore would they be placed in the female or all male platoon,” he explained.
Another element of controversy, should the military pay for transgender related medical procedures?
Ellison says not all transgender people opt for surgery.
“I think a lot of the general public who is not a part of the trans community or does not educate themselves on those topics goes straight to this idea of surgery. A lot of the medical treatment that is provide as part of transition related care has nothing to do with surgery. It’s basic medication and hormones,” Ellison said.
Town says in the next 100 days we should get answers to some questions such as, will someone who was born a woman and identifies as a man be eligible for designations meant for male troops.