Revoking Trump's Military Transgender Ban Isn't Enough | Opinion

President Biden has signed an executive order to allow transgender people to serve openly in the U.S. military.

I am not jumping for joy.

Don't get me wrong, this is great news—but it was already done in 2016 by President Obama and fully supported by Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. The policy was overturned by President Trump with another executive order. Now the tennis ball has been hit the other way. Meanwhile, there are over 15,000 transgender Americans serving in uniform at this time in history. Thousands more were kicked out or left the military due to President Trump's banishment. Thousands of highly qualified and trained military personnel were unceremoniously dismissed from military service.

There are still thousands of transgender people serving today, most are hiding. But I can (with permission) name one transgender Navy SEAL who is serving right now. Ashley is the only female to date to ever serve in the US Navy SEALs on active duty. The Navy Personnel Command (BUPERS) had to add a single digit to a piece of paper for the first time since 1962, where they annotate how many male and how many females are in a certain Navy rating groups or commands. The number 1 was added to female under Navy SEALs for the first time in 2018. It has been kept pretty quiet and she has done her job in the SEALs as a professional.

At one time, I was the only transgender Navy SEAL. Now I can think of at least 20, and I am sure there are more. I am proud of my 15,000 transgender brothers and sisters in arms who show up everyday to serve our country. But I'm especially proud of Ashley, wearing the Navy SEAL trident—the combat swimmer designation—to work, doing her job every day with honor and integrity.

She may not be treated equally by many other SEALs. She is probably not going to get promoted. There is still much bigotry and prejudice against us, but we continue to serve. We continue to do our best. We continue to love our country and serve with honor.

President Biden's order makes our service easier, but while it helps, it doesn't fix the issue. Executive orders are great at fixing problems that are bipartisan or simple, but for complex or contentious issues an executive order is only a bandaid.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has been put forth as a Bill to Congress a few times and was shot down. Why didn't it get passed and what are they doing now? Can we do better and include all those who are disenfranchised from the system?

I have been working on open service in the military since 2012, culminating with the film "Lady Valor" in 2014, focusing on Don't Ask Don't Tell and open service. My goal back then—before any President was even considering allowing transgender people to serve—was just showing the reality of a transgender Navy SEAL and the capability that I, as a SEAL, brought to the service of my country.

My fight continues—part of a team effort to pass a fully encompassing ERA and the Equality Bill. There will be no "pork" in this bill. It will be clean and focused on guaranteeing the equal treatment of all Americans. There are reams of studies on how much mistreated marginalized communities have had to endure including women, LGBTQIA, Native Americans, African Americans, and many others.

This must end.

President Biden's executive order corrects an egregious, capricious injustice born of populism and prejudice. But it doesn't solve the problem. A new, historic bill must be written, wide in scope and comprehensive in ambition, but with laser-like focus on equality. The time is right. The time is now.

Kristin Beck is a retired Navy SEAL with 20 years of service. She is currently National Commander Region One in the Military Order of the Purple Heart. She was a key voice to end the military ban on transgender service members with the documentary film, Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story (CNN.)

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.