Patient Care Services
LGBTQ+ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are there any providers specializing in transgender Veteran care in my area?
All VA facilities are required to provide care to transgender Veterans or pay for services in the community. To find the LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) at your facility use this tool. They will be the most knowledgeable about local resources.
Q. How do I get transition-related care at the VA?
If you are not already enrolled in healthcare, that is the first step.
Veterans can apply for VA health care enrollment by completing VA Form 10-10EZ. Apply online, or visit, call or write to any VA health care facility or Veterans' benefits office. You can also call the VA Health Benefits Call Center toll free at 877-222 VETS (877-222-8387). Get the latest on VA health care eligibility and enrollment. You can also use the Vets.gov site to obtain additional information.
Once enrolled, you will have a primary care provider. Your primary care provider can submit a consult for counseling services to discuss transitioning or an evaluation for hormone therapy.
If you are already being seen within the VA you can ask for a referral to mental health/behavioral health for an evaluation for gender dysphoria - this is the diagnosis that is treated by psychotherapy and/or hormone treatment. But everyone's goals are different. Talk with your providers about what makes sense for you.
Q. Why are there resources devoted to LGBTQ+ Veterans?
Research shows that LGBTQ+ Veterans expect to experience discrimination in VHA facilities which may prevent engagement in care. Research also shows that due to stigma, stress, and discrimination, LGBTQ+ Veterans as a group experience higher rates of several health conditions compared to non-LGBTQ+ Veterans, including higher risk for suicide. Therefore, VA is working to reduce minority stress and engage sexual and gender minority Veterans in order to provide health care that addresses their needs.
Q. What are the Self-Identified Gender Identity (SIGI) and Birth Sex Fields?
VA understands that Veterans with transgender and gender diverse identities face increased health risks and unique challenges in health care, and is committed to promoting a welcoming environment that is inclusive of all Veterans. Previously, your medical record had only one place for your sex and gender. Now, you can have both your Birth Sex and your Self-Identified Gender Identity (SIGI) in your medical record.
For more information, see the Veteran - Birth Sex and Self-Identified Gender Identity Fact Sheet (PDF) or the Provider - Fact Sheet on Birth Sex and Self-Identified Gender Identity (PDF).
Q. I changed my legal name. How can I change my VA medical record?
A Legal Name is the name on a person’s insurance or identification documents (e.g., birth certificate, driver’s license, and passport). To change your legal name in your VA medical record, you will need to complete a form with your VA facility Privacy Officer. You may contact your local LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator to assist you with the process. In addition, you will need at least one of the following un-expired, official supporting documents from the list below:
- State-Issued Driver's License with photo
- Passport with photo
- Federal, State, or Local Government-issued photo ID containing name and DOB
- Social Security Card (Must be accompanied by an un-expired government issued photo ID that includes either the old or the new name)
- Court Order for a Name Change (Must be accompanied by an un-expired government issued photo ID that includes either the old or the new name)
NOTE: Marriage licenses or certificates are not sufficient documents for a name change, as not all people who apply for a marriage license or marry actually change their name.
For more details, including updates to your legal name for VA benefits and/or in the Department of Defense system DEERS (e.g., for TRICARE or other benefits) see: How To Change Your Legal Name On File With VA | Veterans Affairs
Q. I use a name other than my legal name. Can I add the name I use to my VA medical record?
It is VHA policy that Veterans must be addressed and referred to by the Veteran’s chosen name, even when Veteran is not present. A preferred name field has been created in the medical record system to help VA staff know this information. Preferred name may also be referred to as “chosen name” or “name used”. It is required that VHA staff use the name a Veteran requested when addressing or referring to them, including in conversation and clinical notes. Any Veteran may have a preferred name that differs from legal name listed on government-issued official identification or insurance documents. For example, a nickname. No documentation, form, or paperwork is required to have preferred name added to the electronic medical record. To have a preferred name added, the Veteran should contact registration and enrollment.
Q. Why are VA providers asking about my sexual orientation and sexual health?
VA providers are asking you about your sexual orientation and sexual health to provide you with the care that meets your needs. This information may feel personal and private, but your VA provider needs to know. Your VA provider will need to ask personal questions to best assess your health and work with you to ensure your health needs are met. This information will be part of your private, protected health record.
For more information, see the Sexual Orientation and Sexual Health Veteran Fact Sheet (PDF).