President Biden is expected to lift restrictions on transgender service members in the military as early as Monday, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
This would reverse a ban former President Donald Trump announced via tweet in 2017, which blindsided former Defense Secretary James Mattis. The Pentagon has said there are about 9,000 service members who identify as transgender, with independent estimates putting the number closer to 16,000, the Journal reports.
During his Senate confirmation hearing last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was asked by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) if he would support lifting restrictions on transgender service, and Austin indicated that he would. "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," he said. "And, you can expect that I will support that throughout."