March 31, 2021

Palm Center Statement on Biden Administration’s New Inclusive Transgender Military Policy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s release of a new policy on military service by transgender individuals:

“We have consistently said that restoring a policy of full inclusion for transgender troops would be straightforward, and the Biden administration has now done that, just as it promised from the start. This is a big step toward making our military stronger and fairer, and it recognizes years of research showing that a single standard for all service members improves readiness and allows for the widest possible pool of qualified personnel. We will continue to monitor the re-integration of transgender troops, and to help ensure that every American willing and able to serve has the opportunity to defend their country.”

According to the Department of Defense, the new policy allows qualified transgender individuals to join and serve openly in the military and ensures full access to medically necessary health care, as federal law requires for all service members.

The Palm Center has created a series of brief memos and reports explaining Pentagon policy on service by transgender individuals. They include:

  • Blueprint for Immediate Restoration of Inclusive Transgender Military Policy,” which  explains why everything needed for inclusive service remained fully a part of military regulations, since the Trump Pentagon had to leave guidance in place to govern grandfathered troops.
  • A 2020 report co-authored by three former military surgeons general assessing the impact of the ban and finding that it “compromis[ed] recruitment, reputation, retention, unit cohesion, morale, medical care, and good order and discipline.”

For more information, including a timeline of key developments, opinion polling, and other data, see this memo or visit our recent publications page.