34 Bri­tish troops are chang­ing gen­der

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Mark Ni­col

THIRTY-FOUR troops across the Armed Forces are hav­ing med­i­cal treat­ment to change gen­der, The Mail on Sun­day can re­veal.

The fig­ure has emerged for the first time af­ter a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest to the Min­istry of De­fence’s Sur­geon Gen­eral Sec­re­tar­iat.

The treat­ment is avail­able on the NHS and may be lim­ited to hor­mone ther­apy for some pa­tients, while oth­ers will un­dergo surgery cost­ing at least £20,000 in each case.

It is not known whether the troops are be­ing treated at pub­lic ex­pense or from their own pock­ets.

Last year, Guards­man Chloe Allen be­came Bri­tain’s first fe­male in­fantry sol­dier when she started gen­der re­as­sign­ment treat­ment and changed her name. She joined up in 2012 as a man.

Guards­man Allen of the 1st Bat­tal­ion, the Scots Guards, is un­der­stood to be one of the 34 troops who re­cently started hor­mone ther­apy. Should she de­ploy to a war zone, the sol­dier from Cum­bria will also be­come the first woman al­lowed to en­gage the en­emy in hand-to-hand com­bat.

In 2015, Cap­tain Han­nah Win­ter­bourne be­came the Army’s most highly ranked trans­gen­der sol­dier and the first to be­come an of­fi­cer.

Cap­tain Win­ter­bourne, 29, who had pre­vi­ously com­pleted an op­er­a­tional tour of Afghanistan as a man, is now one of the lead­ing of­fi­cers in the Royal Elec­tri­cal and Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers.

She has said: ‘In Afghanistan, I was act­ing for every­one around me. I was shar­ing a tent with seven men and I re­alised I could not go on as things were.’

The num­ber of troops who have al­ready com­pleted trans­gen­der treat­ment – be­fore or af­ter join­ing up – has not been re­vealed.

An MoD spokesman said last night: ‘We seek to re­cruit and re­tain tal­ented per­son­nel re­gard­less of gen­der iden­tity.’

NEW LIFE: Cap­tain Han­nah Win­ter­bourne, left, and right as a male sol­dier at Camp Bas­tion

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