U.S. Military's Transgender Care Costs 'Negligible,' Professor Belkin's Study Says

Thursday, August 13, 2015
Photo of Aaron Belkin

REUTERS -- Transition care for transgender members of the U.S. military would cost around $5.6 million a year, “little more than a rounding error” as a share of total expenditure, according to new research published amid criticism of proposed funding. The sum amounts to just 22 cents per service member per month, said Aaron Belkin, an academic at San Francisco State University, adding that the military’s annual health-care budget is $47.8 billion.

Transgender people are twice as common in the military as in the general population. “This is possibly because many transgender women — those born male but identifying as female — seek to prove to themselves that they are not transgender by joining the military and trying to fit into its hypermasculine culture,” Belkin said.

The overall costs could be lower because treatment has been proved to help serious mental-health conditions that may cost more in the long run, Belkin said.