Pentagon confirms it will pay for transgender soldier’s sex-reassignment surgery

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An active-duty infantry soldier who identifies as a woman received “gender-reassignment” surgery Tuesday, and the Pentagon has released a statement confirming they will pay for the procedure.

According to an NBC News report, the soldier received “her” Combat Infantry Badge in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2003.

A Defense Department document stated that Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, head of the Defense Health Agency, approved the waiver request for the surgery Monday.

After news of the surgery broke earlier Tuesday, the Pentagon released the following statement:

“This afternoon, an active-duty military member received a sex-reassignment surgery. Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital.

“Because this service member 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. The Supplemental Health Care Program will cover this surgery in accordance with the Department’s interim guidance on transgender Service members.”

In August, President Donald Trump signed a memo to halt future funding for sex-reassignment surgery and also bar the Pentagon from accepting transgender recruits. Two organizations filed lawsuits challenging the move, and a federal judge blocked both bans last month.

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