But the agency confirmed that transgender patients are entitled to routine health care that takes their special needs into account and to transgender-specific treatments such as hormone therapy and “non-surgical, supportive care for complications of sex-reassignment surgery.”
“It doesn’t create anything new. It just says to treat these veterans like you treat all veterans, but for trans vets that’s really huge,” National Center for Transgender Equality executive director Mara Keisling said.
The VA quietly posted the directive on a section of its website reserved for new directives, but has not commented on it. A telephone call and email to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which oversees the VA, were not returned Friday.
Autumn Sandeen, a Navy veteran who lives in San Diego, has been happy with the treatment she has received through her local VA facility, but said she knows of other transgender veterans who were refused not only hormones and the psychological counseling that is a precondition for sex reassignment surgery, but regular checkups.
“It’s going to be a huge boon to veterans who are not getting any care at all or are not getting appropriate care,” Sandeen said. “You have to be able to treat the whole person, and now the VA is telling them, you can’t separate out the transgender component and you can’t only give care that is not trans-specific.”
Copyright Associated Press