U.S. Veterans Affairs Department to Offer Gender Confirmation Surgery to Transgender Veterans

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is “moving ahead” to offer gender confirmation surgery to transgender veterans, Secretary Denis McDonough announced last June 19.

“We are taking the first necessary steps to expand VA’s care to include gender confirmation surgery — thereby allowing transgender vets to go through the full gender confirmation process with VA at their side,” McDonough announced at a Pride Month event in Orlando, Florida.

The decision was based on the “recommendation of our clinicians, so this is a health care decision that has very real physical health care impacts as well as significant mental health impacts,” McDonough said.

McDonough described the move as “the right thing to do” and that it was part of an effort for VA to overcome a “dark history” of discrimination against trans veterans.

According to a spokesperson, the VA plans to begin the process of covering the surgeries this summer.

McDonough added that the process would be carried out “transparently” and “in full coordination with Congress.”

McDonough also said that the move to include gender confirmation surgery in the VA healthcare was ultimately President Joe Biden’s decision.

“He’s made clear it’s time to do it and that’s precisely what we’ll do,” McDonough said.

The move comes months after Biden repealed a ban by former President Donald Trump that prohibited trans Americans from serving in the military.

The National Center for Transgender Equality estimates that over 134,000 American veterans are transgender and over 15,000 trans people are currently serving the military.

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