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Illinois LGBTQ orgs celebrate end of transgender military ban

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LGBTQ organizations in Illinois welcomed President Joe Biden revoking Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military.

Biden signed the executive order revoking the ban on Monday.

“[W]hat I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform, and essentially restoring the situation as it existed before, with transgender personnel, if qualified in every other way, can serve their government in the United States military,” Biden said at the executive order signing.

“The marginalization of members of the transgender community increased under the previous administration,” said Dave Bentlin, president of the Prairie Pride Coalition in Bloomington. “President Biden’s executive order reversing the ban on transgender service members is a significant action to turn around a ship that for the past four years has been traveling in the wrong direction. The Prairie Pride Coalition applauds this reversal yet is mindful that we must remain eternally vigilant against these recurring attacks on the human rights of specific people within our LGBTQI+ community.”

Chase Norris, the executive director of Clock Inc., said he agreed with Biden’s statement at the order signing.

“If someone wants to put their life on the line and proudly serve our country and they are physically and mentally able to do so, that should be their right,” Norris said. “It is an honor to serve our country and so many individuals were unable to do so for the past several years. This is a huge step forward!”

Clock Inc. is an LGBTQ community center in Rock Island serving the Quad Cities.

“Rainbow Café applauds the decision to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military,” said O.J. Duncon, board chair of Carbondale’s Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center. “The ban on trans military members was one of many examples of the systemic discrimination marginalized people in this country face, and overturning the ban is a step towards equality for LGBTQIA+ people. It is great to have an ally in the White House who keeps their promises, and we look forward to seeing what the next four years bring in terms of our nation’s promise of equality for all.”

“Today, we celebrate President Biden’s executive order lifting the ban on transgender service members in the military,” said John Knight, LGBTQ and HIV project director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “The President’s action reverses the cruel and arbitrary ban imposed by the previous administration nearly four years ago.”

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