A US soldier received a waiver for gender confirmation surgery from the Pentagon for the first time.
The active-duty infantry soldier who identifies as a woman, according to a close source, underwent the surgery on Tuesday (14 November). The Pentagon provided a waiver, allowing the military to pay for the operation.
They also sent a statement to NBC and BuzzFeed News, attributed to Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White.
BuzzFeed’s Jon Passantino tweeted out the statement.
In White’s statement, she confirmed the soldier received the surgery at a private hospital. This was because, as explained, ‘military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery’.
Stance on trans soldiers
The statement also clarifies why the soldier received the waiver.
The service member in question ‘had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment’ and a doctor ‘deemed this surgery medically necessary’.
Therefore, the surgery is covered by the Supplemental Health Care Program as approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency.
The doctor’s opinion of the surgery being medically necessary also fits with Donald Trump’s memo banning transgender people from serving. The memo stated government funds could not go towards gender confirmation surgery — except to protect the health of the individual.
However, a US court recently barred Trump from implementing this policy. It is unclear what the status of transgender people serving will be going forward.