FLORIDA — Local advocates for the LGBTQ community say they’re glad to see President Joe Biden reverse the Trump administration ban on transgender Americans serving in the U.S. military.

What You Need To Know

  • Local LGBTQ leaders are applauding President Joe Biden's decision to revers Trump's transgender military ban

  • Experts estimate at least 3,000 transgender Americans serve in the U.S. military

  • Related: More information on Equality Florida

But a leader for Equality Florida says they there’s still a lot of work to do to ensure the transgender community’s rights are protected.

Gina Duncan is the Director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida.

“The military ban was a slap in the face and overt discrimination that transgender Americans really face in other aspects of our everyday lives,” said Duncan.

Duncan says since Biden signed an executive order on Monday reversing the ban, she’s heard from several transgender friends who’ve served in the military who say they’re happy with the new president’s action.

“Many transgender people are already serving closeted in the military and now will be able to come out and be their true authentic self,” said Duncan.

Duncan says it’s estimated at least 3,000 transgender Americans serve in the military. President Biden’s executive order will allow them to enter and serve in the military open about who they are. And the White House says cases where a transgender American was discharged due to their gender identity will be reexamined.

“What I’m doing is enabling is all qualified Americans is to serve their country in uniform,” Biden said when reversing the ban.

“These are patriotic Americans who want to serve their country and should not be judged and turned down from serving due to their gender identity, but due to the content of their character,” said Duncan.

But Duncan says work to protect the rights of transgender Americans and others in the LGBTQ community is far from over.  She says presidential executive orders only go so far.

“This is being reversed as quickly as it was put into effect with the stroke of a pen,” said Duncan. “We need legislation with teeth to protect the LGBTQ community.”

That’s why Equality Florida is pushing for the passing of legislation in Florida — and at the federal level — including the Equality Act, which protects the community from housing and workplace discrimination. 

“Can we turn the momentum from these executive orders into legislation that codifies these and protects the LGBTQ community longterm,” said Duncan.