Transgender Veterans Deserve Access to Transition-Related Health Care

While Kimberly Acoff served in the Army, she never revealed that she was transgender. Acoff tells Rolling Stone that the pain was comparable to her light-skinned relatives years ago passing as white to get hired.

“I felt every pain that they felt,” she explained to reporter Zachary Zane. “I was not afforded the privilege to proudly serve as my authentic self. This robbed me of [my] humanity.”

For too long, transgender veterans have served silently. Even before President Donald Trump tried to ban trans service members, veterans haven’t been allowed to access federal insurance benefits to help them transition. The Department of Veterans Affairs has banned support for “gender alterations” since 1999.

Now, the department is allowing the public to weigh in on reversing that ban. Those who want to help trans vets get transition-related health care have until September 7 to submit a public comment to the agency.

The VA says it’s especially looking for evidence about the safety and efficiency of such care and how providing that care impacts suicide rates among trans veterans.

With the skepticism the military has shown towards LGBTQ issues overall, members of the community and allies need to chime in to defend transgender rights.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon tried to argue that transgender troops hurt military readiness and indicated that there was no evidence to support the benefits of transition-related care. Nathanial Frank countered these claims in The New York Times, stating that years of studies show that trans people who can access good transition care are better off.

“While transgender people can still face disproportionate stresses after transition, research suggests that stigma and discrimination are primary causes of such ‘minority stress,’” Frank writes. “That’s all the more reason we should provide treatment and social support rather than exclusion and barriers to care.”

The public has always had a powerful influence in advancing LGBTQ rights. The courts saw an outpouring of support when they passed marriage equality. Cities across the country have passed laws favoring gender-neutral restrooms after hearing from their constituents. Hopefully, the V.A. will update its policies thanks to public pressure, as well.

TAKE ACTION!

If you’re ready for the VA to respect trans vets’ health care, send in a public comment and sign this Care2 petition.

And if you want to make a difference on an issue you care about, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/Flickr

39 comments

Dave fleming
Dave fleming2 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Emma L
Past Member 3 months ago

thank you

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Leo C
Leo C3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago

signed, ty

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Cindy S
Cindy Smith4 months ago

thanks

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Danii P
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you.

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Danii P
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you.

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Danii P
Past Member 4 months ago

Thank you.

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Winn A
Winn Adams4 months ago

Petition Already Signed

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Dave f
Dave fleming4 months ago

Signed

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