It would not be too costly for the Department of Defense to cover the health care needs of transgender troops, said a report published on Wednesday.
The new study shows that US Military’s transgender transition care costs would sum up $5.6 million a year, which would mean “little more than a rounding error”.
Aaron Belkin, from San Francisco State University, said that the monetary value amounts to 22 cents per service member per month, whereas the military’s annual healthcare budget was $47.8 billion at present. This means the transition-related care costs were too low to matter, he continued.
Ash Carter, defense chief, showed support for openly transgender people serving in the US military, presuming that transgender people can serve openly without having to face discrimination or “adverse impact”.
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee criticized Carter by stating that paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen wouldn’t make the US safer.
Belkin estimates that approximately 188 service members would receive annual transition care, taking into consideration the amount of closeted transgender people that currently serve in the US armed forces.
The study in the New England Journal of Medicine expressed that treatment, which included hormone therapy, surgery or both, costs around $30,000 over a time frame of approximately six and a half years.
It should be taken into account that transgender people are twice as common in the military than in the general population.
Belkin stated that the reason many transgender women (born male but identifying as female) join the military was that of trying to pertain to its hypermasculine culture.
A relevant example is that of Chelsea Manning announced in 2013 her desire was to live as a woman instead of as a man named Bradley. The person in question is a former intelligence analyst being faced with a 35-year sentence as a result of leaking information to pro-transparency site WikiLeaks.
Belkin said there could be consequences as a result of not providing transition-related care, as the treatment would be truly beneficial and helpful for curing mental health conditions.
There was also a law back in 1993, entitled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that prohibited gay people’s access to military service. However, it was revoked in 2011.
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