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Monday, June 21, 2021

VA head announces plans to offer gender-affirming surgeries to transgender veterans at Orlando Pride event

Posted By on Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 9:56 AM

click to enlarge Transgender veterans will soon have the option of receiving gender-affirming surgery at VA hospitals. - ADOBE
  • Adobe
  • Transgender veterans will soon have the option of receiving gender-affirming surgery at VA hospitals.

During a Pride event in Orlando over the weekend, the head of the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced that VA hospitals would begin working on a program to provide gender-affirming surgeries to veterans.

Secretary Denis McDonough said he was starting a two-year-long process that would equip VA hospitals with the training to provide surgery to transgender veterans, calling the move "the right thing to do."

“This time will allow VA to develop capacity to meet the surgical needs that transgender veterans have called for and deserved for a long time, and I am proud to begin the process of delivering it,” McDonough said during a Pride event at the Orlando Vet Center on Saturday.

McDonough explained that he chose Orlando to make the announcement both to celebrate the work of the local veteran's hospital and to commemorate the recently passed anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

“For generations, service members who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or related identities faced brazen discrimination or even worse — not just in our Armed Forces, but in so many aspects of their lives,” he said. “That is the dark history we must overcome, at VA and in America, and it echoes to this day, in horrific incidents like the Pulse nightclub shooting that devastated this community five years ago.”

The announcement comes as the state of Florida has made a point of passing openly discriminatory policies against transgender children and young adults. Both the Florida legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis have shown themselves to be openly hostile to the area LGBT community in recent actions like the slashing of mental health funding for Pulse shooting survivors.

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