Hope, relief for transgender military families in new policy

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Oct 2, 10:29 AM EDT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Like many transgender teens, Jenn Brewer faced bullying when she came out. Some classmates called her "tranny," and a few teachers refused to address the 13-year-old by anything other than her male birth name, she said.

But she and her family found that the biggest difficulty came from her father's employer: the U.S. military.

Jenn's father is an Army staff sergeant at Virginia's Fort Belvoir, and his military health insurance refused to cover private counseling to support the changes his daughter was embracing. Several months later, Jenn said, she was so frustrated and distraught that she tried to kill herself.

"Nothing was working out for me," she told The Associated Press in an interview, sitting in a coffee shop near her family's home on the base with her mom, who encouraged Jenn by placing a hand on her knee. "And I kind of felt suffocated by all of the rules that had been put in place for people like me."

The military insurance also wouldn't cover the $15,000 hormone blockers that could help Jenn transition to female. But such barriers will disappear Monday, when a number of health services for transgender people will begin to be covered by military insurance.

The Pentagon announced in June an end to the military's ban on transgender service members. The ripple effect of the new health benefits extends beyond active-duty military to include roughly 7 million retirees and children of service members, like Jenn.

More here: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TRANSGENDER_MILITARY_INSURANCE?SITE=SCAND&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&SECTION=HOME

 

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