Transgender service members have been left hanging after President Donald Trump tweeted a ban on trans troops last week, only for the Joint Chiefs of Staff to later say there’d be no modifications to official policy at this time. One doctor isn’t taking any chances though, and she’s fighting back with her own solution: free transgender healthcare.
Dr. Christine McGinn is a transgender woman and Navy veteran who conducts sex reassignment surgeries in New Hope, Pennsylvania. For any military personnel she currently has slated for surgery who won’t be able to confirm Pentagon funding, she plans to provide their surgeries for free.
“If the commander-in-chief won’t take care of our veterans, our veterans will,” McGinn said to CNN. “Yes, I will do surgery for free on the number of people that I have already lined up for surgery.”
Trans ex-Navy surgeon: Cost of losing trained service people is "exponentially larger than just taking care of them" https://t.co/4JmaQUS6lg
— CNN (@CNN) July 29, 2017
McGinn calls the proposed ban “obvious discrimination,” pointing out that it’s more expensive for the Pentagon to remove trained, experienced military personnel than to wipe trans care off the military’s budget.
“I think it’s being twisted and spun to make it seem like [trans care’s cost] would be more than it is,” McGinn explained to CNN. “I think the cost of getting rid of very well specialized, trained military service people is exponentially larger than just taking care of them.”
McGinn previously served as a senior flight surgeon at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, a former reserve air base located in Pennsylvania. As a service member, she was nominated as flight surgeon of the year for the U.S. Navy. She also pointed out that her training as a flight surgeon cost approximately $1.5 million. By comparison, a RAND Corporation study claims $2.4 to 8.4 million would be required yearly to provide healthcare to all transgender troops, with $49 billion spent on all U.S. healthcare needs.
Trump’s Twitter announcement Wednesday banning transgender troops has since been reported as a rogue move made in response to Republican representatives asking the president to end federal spending on sex reassignment surgeries and Trump, in turn, trying to save a spending bill to fund his border wall. However, on Thursday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a memo saying there would be “no modifications” to the current Defense Department guidelines on trans service members. But it remains unclear if official policy will change in the weeks ahead.