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Health

Top Military Surgeon Promises Free Surgeries for Trans Personnel If Ban Goes Through

Twitter screenshot/CNN

Without healthcare, any surgery is expensive — gastric bypass, root canal, or gender confirmation surgery.

For trans members of the US military, paying for an essential surgery became imperilled when President Donald Trump tweeted a proposal to ban trans people from serving because of the “tremendous military costs” they “burden” the military with.  

The ban hasn’t been enacted, but in case it is, Dr. Christine McGinn wants her patients to know that she will pay for their gender confirmation surgeries, so no out-of-pocket costs will be incurred.

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“If the commander-in-chief won’t take care of our veterans, our veterans will,” she said during an interview on CNN over the weekend. “I will do surgery for free on the number of people that I have already lined up for surgery.”

McGinn, who has been nominated for the Navy’s flight surgeon of the year award, appeared on CNN to criticize Trump’s statements for their prejudice and lack of reason.

She said that trans service members do not “burden” the military with healthcare costs.

In fact, the military spent just 10% of what it spent on erectile dysfunction prescriptions on transition-related healthcare costs in 2014.

There are approximately 6,630 trans people serving in the military in the US.

Read More: Here Are the Best Reactions From People Unhappy About Trump’s Trans Ban

In July 2016, the military lifted the historic ban on transgender people, who in the past could be expelled if their identity was revealed. As part of this process, the Pentagon commissioned a study that found that military healthcare costs would rise just .13%, or $8.4 million, because of expected transition-related procedures.

“I think it’s being twisted and spun to make it seem like it would be more than it is,” McGinn told CNN regarding Trump’s claims. “I tthink the cost of getting rid of very well specialized, trained military service people is exponentially larger than just taking care of them.”

She also argued that the ban is textbook discrimination, a powerful person attacking an easy target for no justifiable reason.

“It’s obvious discrimination,” McGinn said. “I think any fifth-grader could see that.”

After initial confusion surrounding the proposed ban, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that it will not be implemented until official guidelines are received.

Read More: Stephen Colbert Has Feelings For Donald Trump About the Transgender Ban

There have been no additional indications that Trump will follow through with the mandate.

In the meantime, the service of trans people is just as valuable and their medical needs are just as important as any other member of the military.