An active duty service member underwent gender transition surgery on Tuesday and it will be on the Pentagon’s dime.
“Because this service member had already begun a sex-reassignment course of treatment, and the treating doctor deemed this surgery medically necessary, a waiver was approved by the director of the Defense Health Agency,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White in a statement shared by Buzzfeed. “The Supplemental Health Care Program will cover this surgery in accordance with the Department’s interim guidance on transgender Service members.”
The surgery was reported earlier in the day by NBC News. The outlet had obtained a Defense Department document that said the patient, who identifies as a woman, is an infantry soldier and earned her Combat Infantry Badge in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan 2003.
Her surgery had been set to take place at a civilian hospital on Tuesday.
Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, head of the Defense Health Agency, reportedly signed off on the medical waiver after a federal judge temporarily blocked President Trump’s controversial bans on federal funding for gender reassignment surgeries and blocked transgender people from serving in the military.
Trump signed the memo issuing the bans in August, aiming to reverse a policy decision set in motion by the Obama administration.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that the surgery took place Tuesday, not Thursday.