Here’s how much the Pentagon has spent so far to treat transgender troops

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The Pentagon has spent $ 15 million over the past five years to treat 1,892 transgender soldiers, including $ 11.5 million for psychotherapy and $ 3.1 million for surgeries, Defense Department data shows provided to Military.com

Of the 243 gender reassignment surgeries performed on military personnel since 2016, 50 took place between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017, and 193 took place from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019 – the two years between regular. President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he would ban transgender people from serving in the US military.

According to the Defense Health Agency, the surgeries were performed in military health facilities and included removal of the breasts or testicles, hysterectomies, and labiaplasty – the creation or reshaping of flesh around a vagina.

The total number of transgender people serving in the armed forces in the three components – active service, reserve and national guard – is not known because not all have probably sought treatment.

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But as of May, 1,892 servicemen had been diagnosed and treated for gender dysphoria, including 726 army soldiers, 576 navy sailors, 449 air force aviators and 141 marines, according to the carrier. word of DHA Peter Graves.

The Palm Center, a public policy think tank focused on LGBT issues, estimated in 2018 that 14,707 transgender soldiers serve in the U.S. military, of which nearly 9,000 are on active duty and 5,727 on the reserve.

In 2016, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that transgender people already serving in the military would be allowed to serve openly and transgender people would be allowed to enlist as of July 1, 2017. .

Trump announced via tweet in July 2017 that he planned to ban transgender people from serving in the US military, saying he consulted with military leaders and military experts before deciding the DoD did not need to be “overburdened with the enormous medical costs and disruption that transgender people in the military would cause.”

A policy was issued by then Secretary of Defense James Mattis in 2018 prohibiting those diagnosed with gender dysphoria from serving, with few exceptions. He also said that transgender people who do not have gender dysphoria – defined as extreme anxiety or distress that can accompany a person’s desire to be of the opposite sex – could serve, but only in their gender. birth.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against this policy, which was upheld by the United States Supreme Court in January 2019.

President Joe Biden reversed the policy on his fifth day in office on January 25, 2021.

According to the DoD, the department spent $ 11,582,262.99 on psychotherapy for service members with gender dysphoria from January 1, 2016 to May 14, 2021. Within the DoD, 637 service members received hormone therapy during the course of the period. during the same period, at a cost of $ 340,000, and 243 surgeries were performed at a cost of $ 3.1 million.

The Pentagon’s annual medical budget for health care programs in 2016 was $ 33.5 billion; the 2022 fiscal budget bill provides for $ 35.6 billion in discretionary spending on health care.

The services have deployed branch-specific guidelines regarding the treatment of transgender troops. The Air Force issued its guidelines on April 30, while the Navy issued a message on June 3 stating its policy of prohibiting discrimination against any member of the service.

“The Navy remains committed to treating all people with dignity and respect,” read the message. “No person, solely on the basis of their gender identity, will be refused membership, be separated or involuntarily dismissed, be rehired or prosecuted in service, or subjected to adverse measures or ill-treatment. “

– Patricia Kime can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

Related: Navy grants first exemption from service to transgender officer

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