HAMPTON ROADS, Va (WAVY) – On Monday, President Joe Biden reversed a Trump administration policy that banned transgender individuals from serving in the military.
This served as a relief here in Hampton Roads for many who identify in that community.
Taryn McLean says when he made the decision to transition from female to male, he had already enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
So, when the Trump administration created the ban — which some lawmakers at that time branded as discriminatory — it was like he then had to choose between his life and his career.
“To have that so abruptly challenged when you felt safe, it’s kind of like someone pulling the rug from under you,” he said in 2018.
Now, he says Biden has lifted the ban — and the weight on his shoulders.
“It feels amazing. And it makes me so hopeful for the future. And it also just, it gives me a lot of pride back,” he said.
This was McLean’s reaction Monday when news broke that the Biden administration lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the military.
“To have an administration that says, you know, these issues will be priority, you are equal, just like everyone else, and we’ll make sure that that’s protected. And that you’re able to be, and to serve and do all these wonderful things that we know that you’re capable of. So to have that actually be a priority. And one of the first things that this administration’s done, just, it feels amazing,” he said.
He says looking back, he doesn’t regret his decision to transition to male, or to enlist in the military. Both are important parts of who he is.
“When I started my transition and [I’ve] been happy ever since. And I’ve been very blessed and thankful to be able to do that and kind of maintain for so long and be in the military,” he explained.
He believes it’s these moments that will help support and empower those who are transgender. He believes it’ll also help grow the military.
“I think that at the end of the day, it’s going to make us a stronger nation, more diverse, more well-versed, as well as giving [transgender] troops, the same opportunities as everyone else. But also, I think at the end of the day, it’s going to make us stronger as a service, because … it’s adding to that diversity, the LGBT part,” he said,
McLean serves as co-chair on the transgender advocacy committee within the Hampton Roads Pride organization. If you want more information, visit their website here.