President Joe Biden lifted the Pentagon's ban on allowing transgender people to serve in the military Monday, reversing the action taken by former President Donald Trump in 2017.
For one local veteran, it’s a first step in a long road toward the journey to equality.
“We want to be treated like everybody else, normally,” former Air Force Captain Dr. Laura Ann Weaver said.
She said during her time in the service she proved she was equal. That’s why the change for veterans needs to be permanent.
“Transgender people want to serve, and they serve honorably,” Weaver said. “There’s no reason why transgender people cannot serve.”
She transitioned after she left the service but is confident trans men and women can carry out their duties like every other person.
Weaver said that under Trump’s ban, transgender people were treated like criminals or people unfit for service.
“Transgender personnel, if qualified in every other way, can serve their government in the United States military,” Biden said.
Part of the reasoning given by the Trump administration for the ban was the cost of medical procedures like gender reassignment surgery becoming a major burden on the budget. Weaver said that logic was flawed.
“Transgender surgery is less expensive than a serviceman who smokes and requires medication for any number of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease,” she said. “It is no different than anything else.”
While Weaver is glad a new policy is in place, she said it needs to become law in order to make it permanent.
“We need anti-discrimination laws in terms of housing, for jobs, for every aspect of functioning society,” she said.
Biden’s executive order directs the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security to reexamine the records of all U.S. service members who were impacted by the old policy.
When the transgender ban was originally enacted in 2017, many social conservatives praised the decision. A lengthy court fight followed, and the Supreme Court upheld the ban in 2019.