More Work Needed to Honor Transgender Vets

As the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) joins the country in reflecting on our veterans, NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling reminds us that more must be done in health and housing programs to adequately serve transgender veterans. The VA must cover all transition-related care to recognizer transgender veterans. In a statement released this morning, Keisling says:

This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made headway in honoring transgender veterans by affirming their medical needs in the VA healthcare system. We celebrated the VA Directive for making clear that transgender patients have the same access and protections in VA health services as all veterans do. But to fully recognize the sacrifices of transgender veterans, the VA must lift the remaining restrictions on covering medically necessary transition-related care.”

The VA Directive released in June of this year made progress in securing equal health access for transgender veterans. The Directive does several things:

  • Indicates that all VA staff are to provide care to transgender patients “without discrimination in a manner consistent with care and management of all Veteran patients;”
  • Clearly states that all personal information about transgender status and medical care is kept confidential;
  • Reiterates that, under existing regulations, sex reassignment surgery cannot be performed or paid for by the VA;
  • Reiterates that all other medically necessary healthcare for transgender veterans is covered, including sex-specific care like mammograms and pap smears, as well as transition- related care such as hormones and mental health services.

While the Directive sets the standard for the respectful treatment of transgender patients for public and private healthcare providers, it does not address the existing medical regulations that bar medically necessary transition-related care. Keisling says, “These are hard earned and well-deserved benefits. While NCTE will continue to advocate the VA for these changes, the VA can do the right thing now: honor transgender veterans by covering transition related care.”

Download NCTE’s guide to the Directive here.

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7 Responses to More Work Needed to Honor Transgender Vets

  1. Tristan Lee says:

    Yes the VA department has said that they will provide the needed medication for the hormone therapy. However, the trick is finding aVA doctor that will actually prescribe the hormones. Most of the VA doctors don’t believe that GID is a real condition.
    Therefore, I still have to go to a public endocrinologist for my scripts. I am fortunate that my Primary Care doctor, with the VA, writes the orders for my lab work to be done.

  2. brian (alice) hatley says:

    my va prim care was kinda caught off gaurd about it when i asked, but after a little pushing i had my first appiontment and started hrt a month later. the majority of the people at the indianapolis IN va are very wonderfull, and ask even what i want to go by not just what the records say. kudos to my doctor and lab people. many thanks and huggs too.

    • Tristan Lee says:

      I’m glad that things are working out for you.
      I’m in Jacksonville, FL and my doctor doesn’t have any problems but she doesn’t know much about the normal T levels and she says I would have to see one of the VA Endo doctors in Gainesville but that those are the ones who are reluctant to prescribe the T.

      • brian (alice) hatley says:

        i think that alot of them know gid but not real educated on hrt. gatta rember just because we have been dealing with this for a life time some of them have only been exposed to it a lil bit, i think the more that come forward the better it will get.

  3. tanya says:

    I was given a birth control implant for hormones by one doctor and he wouldn’t give me anything else! The Va in NYC should cover the surgery. GRS is not a new phenomenom. This is a medical condition that becomes a mental one after it is not treated. I have lived as woman for 20 years that’s long enouph! When I was in they did not pay enouph to save money toword the surgery but they were willing to let me die in the battle field of a foreign country so the wealthy could get richer!

  4. adult match maker…

    [...]More Work Needed to Honor Transgender Vets « National Center for Transgender Equality's Blog[...]…

  5. Norma Ballhoen says:

    Need to get them to do our surgery

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