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Biden to repeal Trump's ban on transgender people joining military

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators gather to protest U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, at the White House in Washington, U.S. July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden is poised to repeal his predecessor Donald Trump’s ban on transgender people enlisting in the U.S. military, a person familiar with the matter said.

The source, who spoke to Reuters anonymously because the action is not yet public, said Biden could lift the ban as soon as Monday. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan marks the latest effort by the Biden administration to roll back many of Trump’s policies.

Trump announced the ban in July 2017, reversing a landmark decision by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which allowed transgender people to serve openly and receive medical care to transition genders.

According to U.S. Department of Defense data, there are about 1.3 million active personnel serving in the U.S. military, but no official figures on the number of trans members are available.

While transgender military personnel under Trump’s policy were allowed to keep serving, new recruits were kept out.

Biden’s plan to repeal the ban is supported by newly confirmed Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve and you can expect that I will support that throughout,” Austin said at his confirmation hearing.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicut; Writing by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Peter Cooney

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