Army 'to pay for soldier's sex change'

The Australian Defence Force has announced that they will pay for sex change operations for soldiers.

The decision has highlighted the current transgender case of Australian soldier Bridget Clinch.

In August of 2009 Matthew Clinch, now known as Bridget Clinch, was diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder.

Clinch confronted the army soon after, announcing that he wanted to become a woman via a sex change operation.

According to Defence Force policy a soldier is entitled to medical treatment if they have an officially diagnosed condition and the operation is assessed as necessary for the health and deployment prospects of personnel.

WATCH Sunday Night: Why the Defence Force has chosen to pay for sex change operations

In June of 2010 the army told Bridget they intended to discharge her on medical grounds and that they would not pay for the sex change surgery.

One month later they reinstated her and initiated a policy review into whether they should pay for the sex change after a complaint to the Human Rights Commission was launched.

The army has paid for the initial hormone treatments required for Clinch's sex change, the Sunday Night program reports.
Clinch's surgery could occur as soon as April, costing approximately $30,000.

WATCH Sunday Night: A former American soldier talks about her transition decision.