The Department of Defense will let transgender soldiers claim gender-confirmation surgery under military medical benefits, greatly expanding their access to care for gender dysphoria.
The coverage would start Oct. 3, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Non-active duty military personnel would not be covered. The Department of Veteran Affairs still rejects coverage for gender-confirmation surgery, although a proposed rule change is being considered.
The DOD approved the coverage soon after Chelsea Manning, a transgender former Army intelligence office, ended a five-day hunger strike protesting her lack of access to health care. Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified documents--a conviction she hopes to appeal.
The Pentagon ended a service ban on openly transgender soldiers in June.