An active duty U.S. military service member underwent “gender transition” surgery November 14, a procedure that was approved and paid for by the Pentagon, the Defense Department has announced.
The Pentagon said the individual getting the surgery is an infantry soldier who identifies as a woman, and who received his Combat Infantry Badge in Afghanistan in 2003.
Defense Department spokeswoman Dana White told reporters that the surgery was performed in a private hospital in Pennsylvania and was paid for through the soldier's militarys health coverage. She explained that the procedure was done on the advice of doctors who deemed it medically necessary.
“Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital,” said White, adding that since the soldier “had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment, and the treating doctor deemed this surgery medically necessary, a waiver was approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency.”
In July President Trump overturned President Obama's decision to allow transgender individuals full access to military service, announcing that “the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
In October a federal court put a hold on that ban as lawsuits filed by transgender service members make their way through the courts. However, the ban on federal funding of “gender reassignment” surgeries was left in place, with the caveat that service members who had already begun the “transition” process would be exempted. This exemption allowed the present soldier to have his “gender reassignment” surgery paid for by the government.