Pentagon refocuses on surgery for transgender troops

Two weeks after the Pentagon announced the new TriCare policy which includes coverage for counseling and hormones, but not for endocrine treatment for children or gender reassignment surgeries, and one week after Chelsea Manning was approved to seek treatment by a surgeon, the Pentagon has changed its tune:

Transgender troops on active duty may qualify for sex-reassignment surgery if their physicians deem it necessary, according to Pentagon officials.

The actual wording of a Defense Department spokesman on Monday was that

the option is available to all transgender active-duty troops if their doctors recommend it and senior military health officials approve it.

Air Force Maj. Ben Sakrisson announced that beginning October 3, the military's health program will cover therapy and hormone treatments for those with gender dysphoria but not surgery for non-active duty personnel.

According to Sakrisson, gender reassignment surgeries for active-duty personnel will be conducted at either a military hospital or, if qualified care is unavailable at a military facility, at a private hospital paid by Tricare.

Under the new policy, transgender troops must have a personal transition plan approved by a military doctor, a standard requirement for major procedures for active-duty troops.

At least five transgender troops have already sought waivers to obtain treatment outside of the military health care system.

Surgical coverage for veterans will apparently have to wait for another time.

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