DOD says military will also pay for transgender treatments for retirees, dependents

DOD says military will also pay for transgender treatments for retirees, dependents

A Pentagon spokesman for the Department of Defense released new details Wednesday surrounding a controversial change in policy that will ultimately lead to the military paying for some transgender treatment and surgeries for active duty soldiers.

Another group will also be getting free treatments starting in October. Officials in Washington say Tricare, the military's health care insurance system, will also pay for dependents. spouses, and retirees to have mental health and hormone treatment related to gender identity issues.

(WTVM) - The group will not, however, be eligible for free surgeries.

DOD officials say for active duty soldiers to be eligible for gender-change related surgeries, they have to be diagnosed with Gender Disphoria; a medical term for those who feel strongly that they are not the gender they physically appear to be.

Many of our viewers tell us they feel the surgery is an elective process; however, the Department of Defense disputes that.

"Some people have mis-characterized this policy as being something that somebody elects, or chooses, and that you can walk in one day as a male and decide I want to be female, and then you can just go get an operation, and treatment, and be able to be the other sex. It's not that case at all," said DOD spokesman Eric Pahon.

Pahon also says the DOD believes that extending some treatment options to family members could provide overall benefits for the military.

"If you have a child that is unhappy or is affected by some kind of condition, like Gender Disphoria, there is no way that you can be an effective part of the team or part of the mission, when you're worried about those things at home, so we're going to provide a peace of mind and treatment," said Pahon.

Releases from the Department of Defense also states that the new policy will have a very small effect on its overall healthcare budget. Research estimates it will cost up to $8.4 million annually, which many feel could be used in other ways.

Many WTVM viewers have expressed concern that the money for transgender procedures isn't being spent on veterans who are homeless or suicidal.

The Department of Defense says the Veterans Affairs budget is totally separate and money from the DOD's annual budget isn't transferable to the VA.

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