NORFOLK, Va. - There is now a sense of relief for Taryn McLean, who has been a member of the U.S. Navy for more than a decade.
"It felt great to be able to not have to look over my shoulder anymore or constantly be on the chopping block,” said McLean.
McLean is a transgender man. He started his transition in 2012.
“I decided I am going to be open with it,” McLean adds.
When the Trump administration banned transgender people from joining the military, McLean tells us he was “grandfathered in” - but that wasn’t the case for everyone.
"People that were interested in coming into the military that did identify as gay or transgender kind of lost that hope,” he adds.
But that hope is restored. President Joe Biden’s executive order allows all Americans who are qualified to serve and says “gender identity should not be a bar to military service.”
"I think the President's repeal of this gives equity again to all persons - that they should have their basic human rights; that if they want to serve, they should be able to,” Teri Minami.
Minami is the president of PFLAG Hampton Roads, an organization that unites the families and friends of the LGBTQIA+ community.
"This has brought such a big sigh of relief,” adds Minami.
And some clarity.
McLean says trans people were left out of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal in 2011.
"We are no longer falling into that gray area,” said McLean.
And no longer having to choose between their career and their truth.