Biden trans track record continues as it reverses more Trump-era restrictions. Under Biden trans military members and veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Saturday that it will offer gender-affirming surgeries for trans veterans, a first in the history of the VA.
“[This is] allowing transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA by their side,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough said during a Pride event at the Orlando VA Healthcare System. “We’re making these changes not only because they are the right thing to do, but because they can save lives.”
McDonough stated that his office will begin a two-year process to provide proper training on performing gender-affirming surgeries to VA facilities. “This time will allow VA to develop capacity to meet the surgical needs that transgender veterans have called for and deserved for a long time, and I am proud to begin the process of delivering it,” McDonough said.
The decision falls in line with changes enacted since President Joe Biden took office focused on being more inclusive to trans military members and veterans. Biden signed an executive order in January repealing President Donald Trump’s ban on trans members of the military serving openly as their assigned gender. The Veterans Health Administration also announced it will rename its LGBT health program to the LGBTQ+ health program in an effort to “reflect new community standards of inclusiveness and anticipate future changes in terms.”
“At VA, we’re doing everything in our power to show veterans of all sexual orientations and gender identities that they can talk openly, honestly and comfortably with their health care providers about any issues they may be experiencing,” McDonough said.
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano, the first out gay person of color elected to Congress, celebrated McDonough’s announcement, saying, “Veterans in need of gender confirmation surgery should not have to seek healthcare outside of the VA health system or navigate complicated processes to get the care they need … VA must be inclusive of all veterans who have served, regardless of their identity.”
The VA estimates that with the change to Biden, trans veterans, roughly 4,000 of them, will be interested in utilizing the program Trans team to obtain gender-affirming surgeries despite the National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that upwards of 134,000 trans military veterans reside in the U.S. currently.
Biden Trans : Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of Ted Eytan/Creative Commons