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Active-Duty Transgender Soldiers Can Qualify for Gender-Confirmation Surgery

Transgender military
U.S. Army/Flickr

The Pentagon announced that military health plans would cover the surgery if a physician deems it “medically necessary.”

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.

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