UPDATED: Your Tax Dollars May Fund Transgender Surgery for Military, Veterans

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

This article has been updated.

Taxpayers may foot the bill for experimental and extremely controversial transgender “treatments” including cross-sex hormones and surgeries that arguably harm healthy bodies in the pursuit of transgender identity. These surgeries, which involve the removal of healthy sexual organs, can cost as much as $200,000.


On January 25, President Joe Biden issued an order explicitly championing transgender identity in the military. He reversed former President Donald Trump’s policy, which did not ban transgender Americans from the military but did insist that all service members serve according to their biological sex, not their gender identity.

Biden’s order directed the secretary of defense and the secretary of homeland security to “establish a process by which transgender service members may transition gender while serving,” although it remained unclear whether or not taxpayers would get stuck with the bill for transgender surgery.

Later that day, however, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that the Department of Defense would endorse transgender identity and pay for “transition related care.”

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“This revised policy will also ensure all medically-necessary transition related care authorized by law is available to all Service members and will re-examine all cases of transgender Service members that may be in some form of adverse administrative proceedings,” Austin wrote.

In February, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced that VA Secretary Denis McDonough had ordered a review requiring the VA to examine “the delivery of medically necessary, gender affirmation care and procedures.”


McDonough directed VA employees to “Perform an assessment of the necessary steps to eliminate the exclusion of ‘gender alteration’ (gender affirmation surgery) in the medical benefits package,” The Washington Examiner reported.

Austin and McDonough did not put a dollar figure on the cost for transgender treatments. The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery presents a plethora of surgeries for male-to-female and female-to-male surgeries that add up to between $100,000 and $200,000.

Citing an arguably flawed 2016 study, Biden argued that endorsing transgenderism in the military “would have only a minimal impact on military readiness and healthcare costs.” Yet a 2019 USA Today investigation found that the Pentagon spent $8 million to treat just 1,500 transgender military officials, including cross-sex hormones and some surgeries. While an Obama-era policy barred the VA from providing transgender surgery, that policy expired in 2018. A federal study revealed that more than 15,000 service members and 134,000 veterans identify as transgender.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), an Afghanistan veteran, told The Washington Examiner that while he supports allowing service members to serve in accordance with their gender identity, he opposes taxpayer funding for gender transition.

“This is radical and new territory for a presidential administration to force taxpayers to fund sexual reassignment surgeries for those in the military,” Banks told the Examiner. “I’m compassionate toward those individuals who want to undergo an elective surgery of this nature, but taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook to pay for it. It’s constitutionally dubious that Congress hasn’t passed these measures, but the administration, in a radical way, is pushing through this agenda. I sit on the committee that should debate these issues.”

Court Blocks Biden HHS From Forcing Catholic Doctors to Perform Transgender Surgery

Forcing taxpayers to fund cross-sex hormones and transgender surgeries violates the consciences of Christians and Roman Catholics who oppose such procedures, Banks argued.

Research shows that there are significant risks with sex reassignment surgery, including heart conditions, increased cancer risk, and loss of bone density. Most “bottom surgery” procedures will take gender-confused males and females with healthy reproductive systems and make them sterile, replacing their organs with a simulacra of the opposite sex’s endowment.

Some endocrinologists have warned about the negative effects of “puberty-blockers” and cross-sex hormones.

“I call it a development blocker — it’s actually causing a disease,” Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an independent private practice endocrinologist in Rocklin, Calif. who consults with Sutter Roseville Medical Center, told PJ Media. The disease in question is hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It occurs when the brain fails to send the right signal to the gonads to make the hormones necessary for development.

There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Men and women who formerly identified as transgender and underwent surgery have grown to reject transgender identity and lament the damage they did to their own bodies.


Biden’s order, practically applied through Austin’s and McDonough’s guidance, may make taxpayers complicit in medical treatments that arguably do physical harm to healthy men and women. This would prop up a system that encourages adults and children to alter their bodies in pursuit of a biologically false identity — a process that will leave many of them permanently scarred.

If Biden really wants this on his conscience, that’s his affair. He absolutely should not be forcing this complicity on taxpayers, however. A decades-long supporter of the Hyde Amendment (which prevents taxpayer dollars from funding abortion), Biden should be able to grasp the conscientious objection to controversial “medical” practices like baby killing and experimental genital mutilation.

Updated March 11, 2021, 11:40 a.m.:

Terrence L. Hayes, press secretary for the VA, reached out to PJ Media and clarified that the VA has not started any transgender surgeries, even though McDonough has directed a review to move in that direction.

“Please be advised that the Department of Veterans has not started any surgical procedures for transgender Veterans and per Secretary McDonough is in the assessment phase… no money is being spent on surgery for Veterans at this time,” Hayes wrote to PJ Media.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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