Professor Belkin: Transgender Care Costs Not a Barrier to Service

Thursday, August 13, 2015
MILITARY TIMES -- Aaron Belkin, a Political Science professor at San Francisco State University and director of the Palm Center, a public policy think tank that focuses on LGBT issues, estimates that transition care — gender reassignment surgery and/or hormone therapy — for troops would cost the Defense Department $5.6 million a year, depending on how many choose to use the services. According to Belkin, an estimated 12,800 transgender personnel serve in the military. And not all of them will seek transition services health care. An estimated 94 to 188 transgender troops may seek transition care, said Belkin, basing his assessments on the rates of services sought by troops in the Australian armed forces as well as U.S.-based insurance companies. “Some transgender individuals do not change their bodies to match their gender identities [but] government agencies, courts and scientist agree that for many, transition related care is medically necessary,” Belkin wrote in an article.