Transgender service member gets gender reassignment surgery

Lester Mason
November 15, 2017

An active-duty service member underwent gender transition surgery Tuesday in the first such procedure approved under a waiver allowing the Pentagon to pay for the operation.

Trump's decision to reinstate the ban was met with nationwide protests.

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Pentagon officials said a waiver is required any time a service member receives a procedure at a civilian hospital instead of a military hospital.

NBC News, which first reported on the approval of the surgery, identified the service member as an infantry solider who identifies as a woman after speaking to a source who is close to the soldier.

"Military hospitals do not have the surgical expertise to perform this type of surgery, therefore it was conducted in a private hospital", White said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted in July that he would ban transgender people from the military, a move that would reverse Democratic former President Barack Obama's policy of accepting them and halt years of efforts to eliminate barriers to military service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


A month after his tweet, Trump sent a formal order to the Pentagon to implement the ban and gave the Defense Department six months to determine what to do about those now serving.

According to a statement sent to NBC News and BuzzFeed's Jon Passantino, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said that the waiver for the surgery was approved because the service member had already begun a "sex-reassignment course of treatment" and the treating doctor said it was "medically necessary".

Top officials were also given six months to figure out how to address transgender troops already serving.

Last month, a federal judge barred the Trump administration from proceeding with its plan.

Last month, a federal judge in Washington blocked Trump from banning transgender people from serving in the USA military, handing a victory to transgender service members who accused the president of violating their constitutional rights. Citing research into other countries that allow transgender people to serve, the study projected "little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness or readiness" in the United States.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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