34 British troops are changing gender
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