Active-duty transgender soldier to undergo surgery at military hospital


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 Active-duty transgender soldier to undergo surgery at military hospital

Image: Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono speaks during SiriusXM's Congressional Veterans ForumVice Admiral Raquel C. Bono speaks during SiriusXM's Congressional Veterans Forum at the Cannon House Office Building on May 23, 2017 in Washington,

WASHINGTON — An active-duty service member was to undergo gender transition surgery Tuesday in the first such procedure approved by the Pentagon and performed at a military medical facility, defense officials said.

The patient is an infantry soldier who identifies as a woman, according to a source close to the service member. She got her combat infantry badge in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in 2003, the source said.

Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, head of the Defense Health Agency, which provides medical care to active-duty personnel, approved the request for the surgery Monday, defense officials said.

NBC News has reached out to the Pentagon and is awaiting comment.

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.

A RAND Corporation study last year found that allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military would "have minimal impact on readiness and health care costs."

The study estimated there are between 1,320 and 6,530 active-duty members out of 1.3 million service members, and predicted that hormone treatments and surgeries would cost about $2.4 to $8.4 million a year — a tiny sliver of the Pentagon budget.

By: NBC News

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