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VA Will Not Pay for Sex Change

Veteran News
Veteran News
November 15, 2016
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Veterans Affairs officials have decided not to allow sex-change operation for transgender veterans. The move, originally intended to be part of the Fall 2016 Unified Agenda, has been scrapped due to budgetary constraints, according to“VA has been and will continue to explore a regulatory change that would allow VA to perform gender alteration surgery and a change in the medical benefits package, when appropriated funding is available,” said a statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs to sex-change surgery is not covered, the VA does currently pay for hormone therapy, preoperative evaluation and mental health care, as well as long-term post-sex change surgery care.


Sex change operations and option for active duty troops

The Department of Defense announced in June that it would begin paying for sex-change operations for qualifying transgender troops after the ban on openly serving transgender military service members was lifted that same month.In one well-publicized case of a transgender soldier, Chelsea Manning, the soldier who leaked a massive number of national security documents and videos to Wikileaks, demanded sex-change surgery and was granted it in early September. She had been on a hunger strike for some time before the Army acquiesced to demands from her lawyers, who are associated with the American Civil Liberties Union.There are currently between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members in the active-duty force of 1.3 million, according to RAND Corp. estimates. They believe around 25 to 130 would seek sex change surgery, costing the U.S. government between $2.4 to $8.4 million per year.A handbook detailing how active duty, Reserve and Guard commanders should deal with transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines was released in September.That handbook talks about how to confirm the diagnosis of “gender dysphoria,” and will need to have his or her commander sign off on the timing of gender transition and hormone replacement therapy.From there, the soldier will need to meet the height, weight, physical fitness and uniform standards of his or her gender.

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