IN FOCUS Discussion: Pres. Biden’s repeal of the transgender military ban

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With a stroke of a pen, President Joe Biden repealed a policy from the Trump administration Monday that prevented transgender individuals who planned on pursuing gender-affirming hormones or surgery from serving in the military.  The White House said Biden believes gender identity should not be a bar to military service.

The policy from 2017 by President Trump, most commonly known as the Transgender Military Ban was a reversal of an Obama administration policy back in June 2016. Supporters of the rule said they were concerned that the military would be forced to pay for the gender-affirming procedures of transgender military members.

A study commissioned by the Pentagon just the year before the ban was enacted, found that transgender people in the military had “little to no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.” Meanwhile, healthcare spending on active duty transgender service members increased by only about 1/10th of a percent.

Tisha Olsen, who is a transgender woman and served in the Marines during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. to talk about the challenges, difficulties, and hardships she endured by having to conceal her identity and refrain from living her authentic self while in the military. She shared how she relates to the feelings and experiences of the transgender individuals who were impacted by the transgender military ban.

Breeze Hannaford, Coordinator of the G.I.V.E. Program at the Salt Lake City V.A. discussed the services and resources that her agency provides, the data surrounding transgender veterans and mental health, and challenges that our transgender veterans still face even after they leave the military.

Dr. Candice Metzler and Becca Green with the Transgender Education Advocates (TEA) of Utah explained what needs to be done to stop policy surrounding transgender service members from being tugged back and forth between each presidential administration, how someone can approach the difficult conversation with someone who may be hateful towards transgender individuals, and what’s next in the fight towards equality for our transgender community.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Olsen, Hannford, Dr. Metzler, and Green, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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Glen Mills

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...