VA Will Offer Transgender Veterans Confirmation Surgery
Veterans Administration Secretary Denis McDonough has announced at a Pride Month event in Orlando that the VA will offer transgenders veterans confirmation surgery, or surgery to the sex a transgender veteran identifies with. In his prepared remarks, McDonough said it was “the right thing to do” and that the VA is overcoming a “dark history” of discrimination against LGBTQ service members. He added that the recommendation for this was put forward by clinicians, therefore it’s a healthcare decision and not a political decision.
The National Center for Transgender Equality says they estimate there are over 134,000 transgender veterans and more than 15,000 transgender individuals serving in the military. In January, President Biden overturned a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
Suicide and depression rates among transgender military members and veterans is significantly higher than the transgender community as a whole in the United States. “I don’t think we have treated those who wished to serve their country who happen to be transgender with the same care, dignity, rights and respect as we have straight service members or gay and lesbian service member,” says Jay Albright, a Los Angeles based layer who specializes in LGBTQ social issues.