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Rubio, Banks Introduce Bill to Regulate Transgender Service in U.S. Military

Feb 16, 2023 | Press Releases

Under President Joe Biden, people who identify as transgender or have gender dysphoria can serve openly in the U.S. military. Senator Rubio’s legislation would prohibit any individual with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria from serving in the military, with limited exceptions. The legislation builds on Trump era restrictions that were repealed by the Biden Administration, but adds more stringent requirements and revamps the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to ensure all service members’ gender markers match their biological sex.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Ensuring Military Readiness Act to regulate transgender service.

  • “The military has strict standards for who can and cannot qualify to serve. For example, under President Biden, you can’t serve with a peanut allergy. Biden has turned our military into a woke social experiment. It is a stupid way to go about protecting our nation. We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter threats like China, Russia, and North Korea and less time thinking about pronouns.” – Senator Rubio

U.S. Representative Jim Banks (R-IN) will introduce companion legislation in the House.

  • “Americans who were treated for ADHD in the past two years must receive a waiver to enlist. Our military holds recruits to stringent medical standards for a reason and the Biden administration’s special carveout for those suffering from gender dysphoria was purely political. Our bill ensures that DoD puts lethality and readiness before far-left ideology.” – Representative Banks

Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Ted Budd (R-NC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), and Mike Braun (R-IN) are original cosponsors.

  • “The United States military is no place for social experiments. Communist China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea do not care what our servicemembers’ pronouns are. We must get back to maintaining a strong military and showing the rest of the world that the U.S. is serious about our security and continued freedom. Any time we’re not spending on readiness is time the New Axis of Evil gains an upper hand.” – Senator Blackburn


  • “The brave men and women who dedicate their lives to the defense of our nation deserve to know that we have their back when it comes to providing for their safety. Our number one priority must always be to ensure these service members have the resources necessary to defend against any current or future threat to our national security. With global tensions currently on the rise, it is imperative that we return our focus to military readiness, not some woke ideology. The U.S. military is no place to be experimenting with social engineering.” – Senator Budd


  • “The world is on the brink of a major conflict, and America’s military must be ready to fight at a moment’s notice. Now is not the time to socially experiment with our armed forces at the expense of readiness, morale, and our national defense. The military maintains rigorous mental and physical requirements because our service members must be as capable and deployable as possible. Those requirements should include all conditions that make a service member physically unfit to serve, including the long and expensive process of gender transition.” – Senator Tuberville

Heritage Action, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, CatholicVote, and the American Principles Project have endorsed the legislation.

  • “Data shows that service members with gender dysphoria are at a much higher risk of suicide, crippling anxiety, or other mental conditions than their peers. The Biden administration’s decision to allow for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria to serve will harm readiness by reducing the number of troops that are available to deploy. At a time when all branches of the military are already facing a recruitment and readiness crisis, this decision will also breed mistrust and uncertainty among units that need to know they can count on those standing next to them. Senator Rubio’s Ensuring Military Readiness Act would block President Biden’s dangerous policy changes, and all Senators that take our national defense seriously should support it.” – Ryan Walker, Vice President of Government Relations, Heritage Action


  • “Senator Rubio’s efforts to deal with the issue of transgender identifying individuals in the military are to be lauded. The Senator clearly understands that at a time when China is flying surveillance platforms into our airspace and becoming more and more belligerent and provocative that our precious dollars and time need to go into preparing our military for war. The notion that we can continue prioritizing making our military more “woke” is a specious notion. Every decision made by the President and Congress regarding our military should be made with the readiness of our military in mind. What the Senator is proposing would set us on a pathway to spend our time and money preparing for war with not only China but other adversaries that loom on the horizon.” – Lieutenant General Boykin, Executive Vice President, Family Research Council


  • “Military missions are successful when objective standards of operation are applied to facts on the ground. Today, military readiness is being undermined by mandates for special accommodation of self-defined identities that disrupt service time, obligate resources for costly medical treatment, and degrade the safety and dignity of women. The military should not be focused on redefining sex and gender, but on the mission of securing the country.  Our servicemembers are losing trust in a military compromised by the distraction of social experimentation. Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee applauds Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Indiana) for confronting this issue head on.” – Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization


  • “The Defense Department states their mission ‘is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.’ The Biden administration has turned the Defense Department into a woke nightmare of abortion and anti-family policies that has resulted in record low enrollment. Senator Rubio’s and Congressman Banks’ legislation will restore the greatest military in the world to its original mission.” – Tom McClusky, Director of Government Affairs, CatholicVote


  • “Service in the U.S. military is a privilege, not a right. To ensure effectiveness in combat, it makes sense that our armed forces would only accept those who are physically and mentally fit to serve. Unfortunately, in recent years woke politicians have undermined this goal, turning our military into a radical social experiment and injecting gender ideology into nearly every facet of its operations. Biological reality and proven fitness standards should not be thrown aside at the whims of a political agenda. Sen. Rubio’s Ensuring Military Readiness Act is an important step toward restoring the military to its rightful mission, and APP urges all members of Congress to support it.” – Terry Schilling, President of American Principles Project

Specifically, the Ensuring Military Readiness Act requires the Secretary of Defense, within 90 days, to issue regulations that would:

  1. Disqualify all individuals who identify as transgender, who have a history or have been diagnosed, with gender dysphoria unless:
    1.  They have been stable in their biological sex for 36 months prior to joining the military;
    2. They are already in the military, are stable in their biological sex, and remain deployable according to the retention standards of their biological sex;
    3. Those serving on the date of enactment of the legislation who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria may continue to serve according to their biological sex, and may receive medically necessary treatment except for transition procedures (defined to include transition surgery and hormone therapy).


  1. Disqualify any individual who identifies as transgender who seeks or has already undertaken gender reassignment surgery.


  1. Allow any transgender individual without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who are otherwise qualified for service, to serve in their biological sex.


  1. Require the Secretary to change how DEERS works to only allow biological sex to be taken into consideration for gender markers, with no means of identifying as a different gender than birth sex, and to retroactively change back any gender markers currently in the system that do not match a service member’s biological sex.

Want more? A one pager of the bill is available here. Senator Rubio previously issued a report on how woke ideology is leaving our armed forces a less lethal force.