Vivek Ramaswamy Says He Would Not Revive Trump Ban on Transgender Troops

Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2023, Friday,
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said Sunday he would not reinstate former President Donald Trump’s ban on service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria during an interview with ABC News.

When asked if he would reinstate the “ban on transgender members of the military,” Ramaswamy responded, “I would not reinstate a ban on transgender members. I would, however, be very clear that for kids — that’s where my policies are very focused — we should not be foisting this ideology on to children.”

That comment aligns Ramaswamy with President Joe Biden, who overturned Trump’s policy on transgender persons being allowed to serve.

Although Trump’s policy was frequently referred to as a “transgender ban,” it did not ban transgender members of the military. It allowed for transgender recruits to serve as long as they served in their biological gender and did not suffer from gender dysphoria, a condition of distress when someone’s gender identity differs from their biological gender.

Trump’s policy allowed troops with gender dysphoria only if they were deemed stable for 36 months in their biological sex by a medical professional and were able to meet applicable standards.

Biden overturned that policy in an executive order in one of his first acts as president.

The move reversed the policy back to the one under the Obama administration, where transgender service members serve in their “preferred gender” and new recruits serve in their preferred gender if deemed “stable” for 18 months.

According to 2014 Department of Defense data, there were less than 9,000 active-duty troops considered transgender, out of an active-duty force of 1.4 million.
A Ramaswamy spokeswoman later provided clarification to his position.

“Vivek doesn’t believe in blanket bans, except for combat roles there would be a ban from serving,” she said. “For administrative roles in the military, it would be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

This story was updated with comment from a Ramaswamy spokeswoman.

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