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Taxpayers officially just paid for the first gender reassignment surgery in the military

The first soldier in the Army had a gender reassignment surgery on Tuesday and taxpayers were on the hook. The surgery was performed at a private hospital because military hospitals are not equipped for this procedure. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Taxpayers are officially now on the hook for gender reassignment surgeries in the military.

Whoa, what?

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White confirmed late Tuesday that an active-duty soldier underwent gender reassignment surgery Tuesday and the military paid for the operation:

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. The Supplemental Health Care Program will cover this surgery in accordance with the Department’s interim guidance on transgender Service members.

The procedure was performed at a private hospital because military hospitals don’t have the proper equipment to successfully complete the operation, White said.

Who is the soldier?

According to NBC News, the solider was a man serving in the infantry transitioning to a woman. The solider received the Combat Infantry Badge in 2003 after serving in Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.

The solider’s name was not released.

Wait, didn't President Trump ban transgender people from serving in the military?

Yes. Trump declared a ban on transgender people from serving or joining the military this summer. He later said the military would not pay for gender reassignment surgeries.

However, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the military’s policy of allowing transgender people to serve would remain in place.

Trump’s ban has been litigated with some parts being struck down. A federal judge struck down two measures: the ban on accepting new recruits who are already transgender and paying for the reassignment surgery.

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