As the nation marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Department of Veterans Affairs has opened its first clinic specifically geared toward treating transgender veterans.
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Ohio will provide primary care, hormone therapy, and mental health care to up to 20 transgender veterans one day a month, theCleveland Plain Dealer reported.
About 134,000 U.S. veterans are transgender, according to the Williams Institute, a UCLA think tank that conducts research on gender identity law and policy. Studies have shown that veterans are five times more likely to be transgender as non-veterans.
Some transgender veterans, like Tamara Lusardi of AFGE Local 1858, are our own members. Tamara came out as transgender after leaving the military and becoming a federal civilian employee, and she recounted the discrimination she faced from coworkers in a video produced by AFGE.
In 2013, the VA released a policy detailing how to treat transgender and intersex patients in a respectful manner. Next year, the VA plans to update its computerized patient record system to allow for recording both a veteran’s sex assigned at birth and currently ascribed gender, which will ensure their full medical needs are met.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on Nov. 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. The day was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.