For the first time, the U.S. will pay for sex reassignment surgery for war veterans.

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source: militarytimes.com

The announcement, which CNN had access to, will be made by the Secretary of the Veterans Department, Denis McDonough, on Saturday afternoon. Currently, there are approximately 134,000 transgender veterans and 15,000 active-duty military personnel in the U.S. Army.

For the first time, the United States Government will offer to pay for sex reassignment surgery for war veterans, CNN said on Saturday.

The Secretary of the Department of Veterans, Denis McDonough, will make the official announcement during an event at a veterans center in Orlando, Florida, to celebrate LGBTQ + pride month.

The policy change could benefit 134,000 veterans, including the number of trans people the National Center for Transgender Equality identified.

In the United States, there is no public health system, so the Veterans Department is in charge of offering a package of medical care to former members of the Armed Forces.

Until now, that package included hormone therapy and mental health services for transgender people but excluded sex reassimilation surgery from obtaining the physical appearance of the opposite sex.

McDonough plans to announce that these surgeries will now be covered, a huge advance for equality within the U.S. Armed Forces.

"There are several steps to follow, which will take time," McDonough said this afternoon, according to a speech accessed by CNN. But we are moving forward methodically because we want this important change in policy to be implemented in such a way as to ensure that the services available to veterans for health-related health care. We have to meet strict standards.

Leading medical associations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association have issued statements supporting coverage of gender reassignment surgery.

According to an opinion piece in the AMA Journal of Ethics, major insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield in many states and Kaiser Permanente, have also recognized surgery as a medically necessary health benefit, not just cosmetic surgery.

Currently, some 15,000 active-duty U.S. military personnel are transgender people, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Gender reassignment surgery is a procedure to reconstruct the sexual organs so that a person's sexual anatomy matches the gender with which they identify.

The measure follows guidance from the Joe Biden administration to deepen policies to increase diversity and inclusion.

Along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Biden repealed a Trump-era ban on transgender participation in the military shortly after the Democratic inauguration.

In July 2017, through Twitter and by surprise, Donald Trump had announced that after consulting with his generals and military experts, the United States Government would not accept or allow transgender individuals in the Army. Trump said at the time that our military should focus on victory and that it could not afford the huge medical costs and disruption that transgender people would bring to the military.