The president’s order, reversing a Trump administration policy – the Transgender ban, creates opportunities for young people whose dreams of serving in the military had been sidetracked.
Nic Talbott has wanted for years to be an Army intelligence officer. Instead, he has been a Walmart shelf stocker, an Amazon delivery driver, a substitute gym teacher and currently, a night-shift courier for a veterinary lab — all because he is transgender and therefore was banned from serving in the military.
But as he has driven his shift through the dark hills of Appalachia, he has wondered if years of deferring his dreams might end after former President Donald J. Trump left office.
“All I want is a chance,” he said.
Mr. Talbott, 27, has been trying to join the military for much of his adult life. He has a college degree, top physical scores, a spotless record and everything else that would make him an enticing candidate. “The only thing keeping me from serving my country is one word on my medical record,” he said, shaking his head.
That changed on Monday when President Biden signed an executive order reversing the ban on transgender troops that was imposed by the Trump administration. Mr. Biden’s order also called an immediate halt to involuntary discharges of transgender troops who were already serving, and for the Pentagon to review the files of any troops forced out under the ban in recent years. The order requires the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security to report on progress within 60 days.
“Simply put, it’s the right thing to do, and is in our national interest,” the White House said in a statement.
The president’s signature clears the way for a generation of young transgender Americans like Mr. Talbott who have spent years waiting out the ban, faithful that in a nation that is increasingly tolerant, the ban would be overturned in court or reversed by a new administration. That has often meant putting life on hold, delaying careers, education and other commitments.
Because regulations created during the Obama administration can simply be reinstated, the move could mean that transgender recruits will be able to join up within weeks, according to Aaron Belkin, director of The Palm Center, a think tank that advocates for L.G.B.T.Q. policies in the military.
“Basically, you just have to flip a switch,” Mr. Belkin said. He described Mr. Biden’s order as an overdue recognition that no one who can meet the standards should be barred from military service. “Today, those who believe in fact-based public policy and a strong, smart national defense have reason to be proud.”
NYTimes.com, by Dave Phillips, January 25, 2021
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Source: Time for Families