VA recognizes March 21-25, 2022, as “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Health Awareness Week.” VA takes seriously its charge to provide care for all Veterans, including LGBTQ+ Veterans.

As a result of stigma, stress and discrimination, Veterans with LGBTQ+ identities face increased health risks and unique challenges in health care. We want Veterans to be comfortable talking with their VA providers about all aspects of their lives so VA can offer the best care possible.

“All Veterans, all people, have a basic right to be identified as they define themselves. This is essential for their general wellbeing and overall health,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “Knowing the gender identity of our patients helps us better understand the population we serve.”

Being honest is essential to health care

While coming out is a personal choice, being open and honest about your sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual practices with your provider is essential to patient-centered health care. It can help your provider personalize your care plan to meet your unique needs and improve your health care experience.

VA encourages Veterans to talk about all aspects of their lives with their providers, including sexual orientation and gender identity, so that we can provide the best care possible. Conversations and the information you share with your VA provider are confidential.

In the fact sheets below, learn more about health risks and why you should talk to your provider about your sexual orientation identity, birth sex and self-identified gender identity.

VA program information

We invite you to check out the Subscribe to our LGBTQ+ email list and never miss an update.

You can also find your local facility’s LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator or visit our Patient Care Services LGBTQ+ Health program office website for more information on available health care services, online training, policies, research and resources.

By Dana Brunson is director of the LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator Program LGBTQ+ Health Program. Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado is a public affairs specialist with the Patient Care Services Program Office.

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Published on Mar. 21, 2022

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6 Comments

  1. Adriane Ramos March 24, 2022 at 10:47 pm

    Why does anyone’s sexual orientation matter anyway?? It has Nothing to do with doing your job! Neither does your nationality or Race. I served before the “Don’t ask don’t tell BS” I served when the witch hunts were an everyday thing to worry about. I served when serving your country was second to who you did or did not sleep with. I just wanted to be a Proud American serving my country. Nothing more, nothing less.

  2. Lexi Matza March 24, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    Jeff,
    I believe you are confused, diversity is not another word for divisiveness. Divisiveness aims “to cause disagreement or hostility between people.” Acknowledging the beautiful diversity of our Veterans, and providing Veterans the care they need to reach optimal health, is meant to create heath equity. Health Equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. If straight people needed assistance to reach optimal health, they should receive that care.

    • Debra A Snyder-Ellerman March 28, 2022 at 10:43 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better, Lexi! And…we are the great nation and the great military we are because of our various diversities. Becoming knowledgeable and wiser about our own people and the world at large is one of the gifts we receive from serving in the military. Thank you VA for serving vets! Hooah!

  3. John Faiola March 24, 2022 at 9:39 am

    Why do we have to climb mountains to get medication to help prevent HIV?
    Is HIV cheaper to treat once you get it?

  4. Heather March 22, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    This week is just pretense. Especially with the Washington DC VAMC. The ongoing discrimination against transgender veterans is so palpable and universal that I could easily call it sadistic torture. The providers and administrators care more about politics and protocol than the welfare of their patients.

    I’ve spent every single day of the last 2 years, 10 months enduring a living nightmare as my physical and mental health continually and permanently deteriorates…my access to even the most basic healthcare (let alone the critical specialized medications i need everyday) are buried within multiple layers of insurmountable red tape.

    The negligence of VA healthcare is atrociously cruel and abusive and if the federal government cared at all about veterans, they’d shut it down and redirect us to other facilities that actually honor the meaning of the Hippocratic Oath.

  5. Jeff Bagwell March 21, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    It is shameful, offensive, and perverted to mention this topic at all. The military is not a political tool of deviate and treasonous people. recognizing any group is wrong. Either we are Americans who serve or have served or we are not. Not European_Americans, Black, Hispanic and certainly not some sexual background such as this. This is truly divisive and in light of the serious danger confronting our nation, a very dangerous undermining of military readiness. If we were to continue this nonsense, then we should recognize POlish-Americans, or how about Ukrainian-Americans, or those who prescribe to “straight” proclivities for their sexual orientation, on and on it would go. I am a veteran and am offended and outraged by this obvious pandering to certain groups which causes nothing but divisiveness. Diversity is another word for divisiveness. Thank you.

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