In December 2021, VA began including gender identifiers and preferred names in its national medical record system. The gender identity field in the medical record now includes transgender male, transgender female, non-binary, other or does not wish to disclose options. It is a welcome change for transgender and gender diverse Veterans.

“This change is going to eliminate a lot of anxiety for transgender Veterans,” said Deedee Fulcher, a Marine Corps Veteran and transgender female who served for 12 years. “It can be very stressful to be sitting in the lobby and have somebody yell out what we as transgender people call our dead name, the name we used to have.”

“The inclusion of gender identity in the medical record is a simple, yet extremely powerful and validating change,” explained Blaine Wilson, a licensed clinical social worker at Southeast Louisiana VA.

“It’s helpful mentally to be called by the gender you prefer,” said Shane Williams, Navy Veteran and transgender male. “Everyone wants recognition in the sense that we matter,” Fulcher agreed.

Establishes trust between Veterans and providers

Using the correct identity markers also establishes trust between Veterans and their providers.

Courtney Bounds is a social worker at Southeast Louisiana VA. She explained that the change to include gender identity in the medical record is an invitation to have the conversations that are necessary for mental health clinicians to provide appropriate care to patients.

“Asking questions about gender identity,” Bounds says, “helps begin the rapport building process. It helps providers avoid misgendering Veterans. That can be an intense emotional experience for Veterans whose gender identity has likely been a source of pain and distress.”

Gender identity can also be essential information for accurate mental health treatment. For example, Bounds explains that if a transgender or gender diverse person seeks help for relational problems, the social worker will have a better chance of helping if that patient speaks openly about their gender identity.

“This is a very positive change.”

Dana Walker is a primary care physician and co-LGBTQ+ Veteran care coordinator. She explains that the inclusion of gender identity and preferred names in the medical health record should help with the emotional fatigue that many transgender and gender diverse patients experience as a result of needing to continuously assert their identity.

“This is a very positive change,” Walker said. “We want to make sure that nothing stands between Veterans and the health care they deserve.”

The addition of gender identity in the health record will go a long way toward making transgender and gender diverse Veterans feel accepted and have meaningful conversations with their providers.

“It’s nice to hear the correct pronoun and be recognized for who you are,” Williams agreed. “We just want to live our authentic lives. We want that small piece of peace.”

By Dr. Rya Butterfield is a public affairs specialist at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. She holds a Ph.D. in rhetoric and political science.

Share this story

Published on Jun. 12, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.3 min.

Views to date: 759


  1. Brian June 28, 2022 at 9:40 am

    Well what about those who were in the national guard and DON’T get any benefits unless they were called to active duty. Seem like the VA gives into the weak and not the strong ones that volunteer their time.

  2. John June 27, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    This is plain BS! The VA makes me beg for the pain meds they started me on, then on the whim of politicians and Stupid Directors take it away. Wait months for an appointment to have it cancelled then cancelled again. Is so I must take me wife with me so she can raise hell to keep me out of jail. the VA is a waste of money. Was a volunteer there for 3+ years….all those vets running around in new scooters, wearing all that gold chain and rank insignia would not even give a darn quarter for popcorn…said they were disabled and should get it free….or the ones in line for travel pay before they even see the Dr. What have we done?

  3. Wayne Meyer June 25, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    Traumatized by being referred to as he or she instead of your preferred pronoun such as them, they or maybe just the word “it” ? Over 60 years ago my Marine Corps DI called me a lot of things and somehow I survived.

    Grow up you wimps or get the fu*k out of the armed forces. If you can’t deal with your biological pronoun, you’re a danger to your fellow soldiers.

  4. RandyE June 24, 2022 at 12:00 am

    Pretty disgusting that a minuscule minority group of loud perverts can influence US Government agencies to cater to their twisted whims? The VA mission is lot more than this! Quit wasting time on worthless social engineering!

  5. Barry Land June 23, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    Trump, hurry back! We are debaunching ourselves to death.

  6. Barry Land June 23, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    What can you expect from a NON MILITARY MAN named enis! Enough perversion already! MAN UP DAMN IT!!!

  7. Barry Land June 23, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    God please help us get rid of this IMMORAL garbage!

  8. Barry Land June 23, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    It’s incredibly stupid to pretend that we need to identify ourselves by our IMAGINATION. Stop destroying our military. STOP NORMALIZING PERVERSION! General Milley and Sec of Defense Austin have already proved their ineptitude in Afghanistan. Maybe they can recheck their genitals again.

  9. TTown June 23, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    I served and was prepared to die for my country. So heart wrenching to see the VA following in the direction of anti-Biblical principles our country was founded on. My heart also goes out to the ones confused about their gender. It can’t be a comfortable place to be, no peace.

  10. Elliott Nichols June 23, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    A person with a womb, ovaries and a vagina, is a female. A person with a penis and testicles is a male.
    A woman who thinks she is male, and a man who thinks he is a female, are in need of psychiatric care, not “gender-affirming” treatment.
    A person is what he or she actually is, not what he or she thinks he or she is.

  11. Dan Nichols June 23, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    A person with a womb, ovaries and a vagina, is a female. A person with a penis and testicles is a male.
    A woman who thinks she is male, and a man who thinks he is a female, are in need of psychiatric care, not “gender-affirming” treatment.
    A person is what he or she actually is, not what he or she thinks he or she is.

  12. Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 7:02 pm

    Yes and Yes to A.S. June 12.2022 at 4:25 pm comment

  13. Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 6:55 pm


  14. Gerald Zynda June 23, 2022 at 6:46 pm

    How about the VA provide care for our veterans instead of this BS? The VA is one of the most ill run and ill staffed government organizations there is!

  15. Ron Cutrera June 23, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Hogwash! The VA should be ashamed of caving to every freakish whim. There are 2 sexes, decided by God: male and female.

  16. J. Cade June 23, 2022 at 6:27 pm

    I no longer use the VA for my health care. This is one reason why. God help us. Gen. Patton would be so proud.

  17. Donald Handy June 23, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    All this social justice, pronoun, wokeness stuff is just cultural marxism. You can be who you want but you cannot change the truth that there is man and woman as God created (Genesis). And you cannot dictate or legislate an acceptance of your untruths contrary to God’s Word.

  18. Susan June 23, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Well i am a female veteran and what about what i feel uncomfortable with? Should we all start acting like a bunch of liberal babies and start requesting special treatment because of our life choices, yes it is a choice!! come on VA dont bend over for this crap! Supporting this garbage is a waste of time! Why not put efforts into preventative healthcare or sharing the dangers of homosexuality instead!!

  19. W Carson June 13, 2022 at 11:12 am

    There are only two genders; male or female. You should be able to tell by looking between your legs, if not ask for help. Stop wasting money on this BS.

    • Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 6:52 pm

      Yep, this multi gender stuff will cost we taxpayers a fortune.

    • Christy June 24, 2022 at 4:23 am

      You are the problem. Woke is not a new term, nor is it a new concept. I hate to tell you this since you are a homophobe, but LGBT folks have served and died for every country on earth for as long as modern man has waged war. The only difference is that now they can actually be recognized. Homophobic, likely bigoted people like you are very sad and antiquated. Luckily there are fewer of you every year.

  20. JBates June 13, 2022 at 10:06 am

    This is a waste of my tax dollars stop trying to make our military woke! Instead focus on our benefits you keep denying!

    • Shane June 14, 2022 at 3:21 pm

      The military has been woke since they started letting women and POC in. Quit crying.

    • Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 6:53 pm

      Yes and yes !

      • Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 6:57 pm

        Hey, my comment went to the wrong place. Is someone playing games to sway the vote so to speak ?

      • Charles Hannert June 23, 2022 at 7:00 pm

        Make that NO and NO. It’s a sickness in our culture. There are ONLY 2 sexes. The others are mentally unbalanced.

  21. Richard M Burg June 12, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    I don’t like dealing in myth” I am talking about gender identity I obviously object!

  22. A.S. June 12, 2022 at 4:25 pm

    Pending veteran claims are nearly 600k. Backlog is nearly 200k.

    This is what Denis and company are focused on. Get this non-veteran, company man suck up out of the way and bring in someone focused on what hundreds of thousands of veterans need.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Women Veteran enrollment at Dublin VA increased by 20 percent over the last two years. New primary care and Women’s Health clinic will address the growing need for women’s health care.

  • Tennessee Veterans and staff were treated to a Veterans Day concert hosted by Musicians On Call and Wrangler at Alvin C. York VA in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

  • Central Ohio VA employees were invited on stage to tell Veterans about VA health care at the 2022 VetsAid benefit concert.