VHA LGBTQ+ Health Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) welcomes all Veterans, families, caregivers, and survivor beneficiaries, including diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. “LGBTQ+” refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identities. The “+” sign captures identities beyond LGBTQ, including but not limited to questioning, pansexual, asexual, agender, gender diverse, nonbinary, gender-neutral, and other identities. LGBTQ+ Veterans have faced stigma and discrimination, which can affect health. As a healthcare institution, we need to make sure that LGBTQ+ Veterans know that they are welcome at Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
Available Health Care Services
There is an LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (LGBTQ+ VCC) at every facility to help you get the care you need. VHA policies require that your health care is delivered in an affirming and inclusive environment and that VHA employees respect your identity. Contact the LGBTQ+ VCC at your nearest facility.
VA health care includes, among other services:
Does my sexual orientation or gender identity matter to my health care?
As a result of stigma, stress, and discrimination, LGBTQ+ Veterans face increased health risks and unique challenges in health care. We want you to be comfortable talking with your VA providers about all aspects of your life, so we can offer you the best care possible.
Learn about health risks and why you should talk to your provider about your sexual orientation identity, birth sex, and self-identified gender identity in the fact sheets below.
Learn about the resources and support available for LGBTQ+ Veterans who have faced challenges related to coming out or are unsure what services they are eligible for at VA.
VA Begins Action to Allow for Gender-Affirming Surgeries in VA Health Care Coverage
VA currently provides all medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender Veterans with the exception of gender-affirming surgical interventions, due to an exclusion in the VA medical benefits package. The LGBTQ+ Health Program is pleased to share that in the summer 2021, VA will be initiating the rulemaking process to modify the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to expand VA’s care to transgender Veterans to include gender-affirming surgery.
1. VA currently provides all medically necessary gender-affirming care to transgender Veterans with the exception of gender-affirming surgical interventions, due to an exclusion in the VA medical benefits package.
2. Gender-affirming procedures have been proven effective at mitigating serious health conditions, including suicidality, substance abuse, and dysphoria.
3. Removing this exclusion would allow VA to provide transgender and gender diverse Veterans with coordinated, medically necessary, transition-related surgical procedures. In addition, revising the medical benefits package would enable a safe, coordinated continuum of care that is Veteran-centric and consistent with VA’s values of equity and respect for all Veterans.
4. The entire rulemaking process can take approximately two years and includes a period of public comment. This will allow VA to develop the framework to provide the full continuum of care in a way that is consistent with VA’s rigorous standards for quality health care.
5. During the rulemaking process, VA will continue to provide or pay for the services it currently offers, including corrective procedures after gender affirming surgeries a Veteran obtains outside VA, hormone therapy, and other gender affirming care.
FAQs: Removing “Gender Alterations” Exclusion from the VA Medical Benefits Package - (PDF)