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Reversal of transgender military ban more than 'reopening of door of opportunity,' discrimination law expert says

Monday, January 25, 2021

LAWRENCE — President Joe Biden issued an executive order Monday ending a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. The order reverses a policy put in place by the Trump administration. Kyle Velte, associate professor of law at the University of Kansas and expert in sexual orientation and gender identity and the law, employment discrimination and related areas, is available to speak with media about the order.

The order effectively returns to the policy put in place during the Obama administration preventing discrimination against transgender individuals in military service. Velte, who has written extensively on employment discrimination and LBGTQ rights, can comment on the order, its ramifications, employment law and the military, Supreme Court rulings on LGBTQ rights and related topics.

“Today’s executive order represents much more than simply reopening the door of opportunity for transgender individuals who wish to serve in the military,” Velte said. “It is, of course, important and historic for that reason. But it is just as important for the messages that it sends — that transgender individuals are as qualified and capable to serve in the U.S. military, transgender people share in the country’s promise of equality, that they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that our nation is stronger when it embraces diversity.”

Velte has published research on the intersection of sexuality, gender and the law in the Yale Law & Policy Review, Cardozo Law Review and Connecticut law review and has written or co-written amicus briefs for the Supreme Court cases Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, United States v. Windsor, Obergefell v. Hodges and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860, mkrings@ku.edu or @MikeKrings.