Southern Arizona VA (SAVAHCS) takes Pride in Serving All Who Served. For employees, celebrating the LGBT and related identities community is a year-round affair.

The Southern Arizona VA courtyard at dawn. On the grass are paper flowers made by VA staff. They represent each transgender person killed in the U.S. in 2019.

From the Health Fair, June Pride Month specific events and every November, they hold a ceremony for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

VA is dedicated to promoting diversity, equality and inclusion. We strive for the deepest roots of inclusion and diversity within VA. We facilitate bringing about understanding, education and awareness to remove barriers for the VA LGBT and related identities community.

The facility encompasses this motto early upon hire. At orientation, the hospital welcomes, supports and educates all new employees about VA directives of diversity and inclusivity.

Topics include supporting and promoting VA allies to our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and related identities employees and Veterans. Additionally, new employees are provided with Pride lapel pins that say, “We Serve ALL Who Served,” and “Safe Zone” stickers.

We have a robust LGBT Committee at our facility including an LGBT Veteran Care coordinator, physicians, pharmacy, social work, nursing, support staff and administration representatives from inpatient and outpatient areas.

Links to information and services

You can find your local facility’s LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator to learn more about your facility’s events, programs, and available health care services or visit Patient Care Services LGBT Health program office for more information.

Southern Arizona VA has a Transgender/Gender Diverse Clinic led by Dr. Jennifer Flynn. She and her team work on issues such as events, policies for transgender and gender diverse care, and enhancing processes for better transgender care within the facility.

Dr. Flynn helped develop a national training series titled, “Care for Transgender and Gender Diverse Veterans in VHA.” She also participates in numerous webinars on transgender care, including the VA Women’s Health Inter-Professional Monthly Webinar series.

VA employees participate in a Transgender Day of Remembrance event.

Her team also holds monthly support group video calls to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading from the front

Due to Covid-19, leadership turned their focus on innovative ways to continue to support the facility’s LGBT program. They hosted a virtual USO-style drag show featuring local community drag kings and queens.

They submitted virtual performances for Tucson’s virtual Pride celebration that incorporated a socially distanced Pride photo booth and an office Pride decoration contest.

Read, follow and view photos about the festivities of SAVAHCS’s past events on the Facebook page.

At VA, we proudly lead the effort to build a diverse workforce and cultivate an inclusive work environment.

We do this by developing and implementing policies and programs that promote diversity and inclusion in our workplace as we strive to ensure that VA’s workforce is drawn from the broadest segments of society.

This ensures that it is poised to meet the present and future needs of our Nation’s Veterans, their families and beneficiaries. All Veterans are welcome at VA, including those who have minoritized sexual or gender identities.

Veterans who have minoritized sexual or gender identities have faced stigma and discrimination, which can affect health. As a health care institution, we need to work to make sure that Veterans with LGBT and related identities know that they are welcome at VA.

Find your local facility’s LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator.

Visit Patient Care Services LGBT Health program office for more information on available health care services, factsheets, online training, policies, research and resources.

Patrick Powers-Lake is the LGBT Veteran care coordinator and patient safety manager for the Southern Arizona VA.

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Published on Jun. 2, 2021

Estimated reading time is 3.2 min.

Views to date: 210


  1. Claude C Bunch June 11, 2021 at 12:46 am

    I am an absolute fan of the V. A. For the past ten years they have been supporting my health. I also believe that all of the homosexual community should be treated with dignity, but I do not believe that their lifestyle should be celebrated. I am a Bible believing Christian, and. I believe God’s word is clear that men and women were created to recreate the world that He made.

  2. Charles Eimers June 10, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    I just finished the VA blog website survey and now regret that I gave it higher ratings than it deserves. About half of my blog comments are deleted by the VA following “moderation”. I guess at the age of 74, I don’t have time left to mince words with you people. Wait till you reach my age and you’ll develop an understanding of my acerbic prose

    [Editor: EVERY comment goes into moderation and is reviewed by me, the human (and Veteran) editor, during business hours. We receive far more spam and fraud comments from bots than the 60,000+ real comments that live on this blog. Nearly everyday, I remove someone’s full SSN from their comment, and most months I refer several people’s comments to the VCL for reaching out. You can learn more about our comment policy, here: ]

  3. Charles Eimers June 10, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    I didn’t agree to serve in Vietnam in order to enable a future President to announce he wants the Gay Pride flag to fly on all federal buildings along with the US flag. Back at that time I went to SE Asia, I resented the war protest culture. Now in retrospect of our current mindless national leadership, the protesters’ point that it was a waste of time may need to be reconsidered.

  4. Ted A. Myers June 10, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    It just took me 10 months 3 cancelled appointments, 3 scheduled appointmets, a 15 minute lecture and the threat of forced removal from the local va’s audiology unit by the police if I didn’t leave. You can’t get a person a pair of hearing aids, but you can get them a new guitar, guitar lessons. or a sex change operation for a LGBT. It’s a damn shame!

  5. Andy Adams June 10, 2021 at 12:05 am

    God created them male and female.

    • Nancy Parker June 10, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      Christian vets do NOT support your support of gay month! The Bible clearly condemns being gay. I resent the ribbon with our country’s flag on one side and their flag on the other
      You have ruined our love for your state!

Comments are closed.

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