According to a report by the Associated Press, new data provided by the Defense Department shows that they treated 1,525 service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria from July 1, 2016 to February 1, 2019. Currently, there are 1,071 who are still serving, 20 of whom are senior officers.
The military had spent about $8 million on transgender care, which includes $5.8 million for psychotherapy and about $2 million on transition related surgeries. Most of the procedures completed were for breast reductions and hysterectomies. There were about 23,000 psychotherapy visits and about 160 surgeries.
President Trump had cited “tremendous medical costs” as the reason for his announcing the ban via Twitter back in July 2017. At that time, it was estimated by the RAND Corp that it could cost the military up to $8.4 million annually.
To put things in perspective, the military is spending roughly $3.2 million a year on transgender care compared to the roughly $41.6 million a year they spend on Viagra alone and the $84.24 million spent on erectile dysfunction prescriptions overall. The military's annual health care budget is over $50 billion.
The new information comes as transgender service members testified before Congress on Wednesday. The hearing was held by a subcommittee that is chaired by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier. She has introduced bipartisan legislation that would prohibit the Department of Defense from denying the enlistment or continued service of transgender people if Trump’s ban were to take effect. The Senate has also introduced similar legislation, but it is unclear as to whether the legislation would be voted on as a standalone bill or as part of the defense bill, the latter of which would make it harder for the President to veto.
Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate, though it is unclear whether the legislation would be voted on as a stand-alone bill or be folded into the defense bill, which could be harder for President Trump to veto.
Speier has called the transgender military ban "discriminatory, unconstitutional and self-defeating" and has said that lifting the barrier for transgender people to serve by the Obama administration in 2016 has been an "unequivocal success."
She also added that banning transgender people from serving “would cost us recruits at a time when so few Americans are willing to serve." She called the transgender troops who testified Wednesday "exceptional, but also exceptionally normal."