Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy recently said he would not reimplement former President Donald Trump’s ban on service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
During an interview with ABC News, Ramaswamy was asked if he would reinstate the “ban on transgender members of the military,” he 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 children.”
I’m an unapologetic American nationalist & my top objective as U.S. President is to revive civic pride in America.
Earlier today on @ThisWeekABC, I said that as U.S. President I would not implement a categorical ban on trans people in the military (though I do support a…
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) June 5, 2023
Ramaswamy’s comments align him with President Joe Biden, who overturned Trump’s policy on “transgender” individuals being allowed to serve. His remarks came in response to questioning about his alleged “anti-woke” logic, with ABC host Martha Raddatz noting that Ramaswamy was introduced in a recent event as the “godfather of the anti-woke movement.”
Ramaswamy doubled down on his comments after receiving criticism for his stance. “I’ve also been clear about my position on the trans cult in America: transgenderism is most often a mental health disorder & should be treated accordingly,” he tweeted.
“The risk of letting someone with a mental health problem serve in combat roles is too high, but for most roles in the military (administrative, support, legal, etc.), I don’t think a categorical ban makes sense,” Ramaswamy added.
Although Trump’s policy was repeatedly referred to as a “transgender ban,” it did not prohibit “transgender” people from joining the military, instead allowing such recruits to join 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.
In his first acts as president, Biden overturned Trump’s policy in an executive order. The move reversed the policy back to one under former President Barack Obama’s administration, which allowed “transgender” service members and recruits to serve in their “preferred gender” if deemed “stable” for 18 months.
Trump’s policy required that new “transgender” recruits serve in their biological gender only. It allowed troops diagnosed with gender dysphoria to join the military only if they were deemed stable for at least three years in their biological gender by a medical professional and could meet applicable standards.
According to 2014 Department of Defense data, of 1.4 million active-duty soldiers, less than 9,000 were considered “transgender.”