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VA Leaves Gender Confirmation Surgeries for Veterans Off Agenda

U.S. Army/Flickr

Given the imminence of a Trump presidency, it is likely that support for the rule change will dwindle in coming months.

The Department of Veteran Affairs has decided to abandon its plan to provide gender confirmation surgery to veterans due to a lack of funding.

In a statement to, the organization wrote that, "VA has been and will continue to explore a regulatory change that would allow VA to perform gender alteration surgery and a change in the medical benefits package, when appropriated funding is available."

Unfortunately, the proposal was left off of the Fall 2016 agenda due to an executive order by President Obama requiring cost to be accounted for in the Unified Agenda, due this past Monday. However, given the imminence of a Trump presidency, it is likely that support for the rule change will dwindle in coming months.

Currently, the Department of Veteran Affairs covers hormone therapy, mental health care, preoperative evaluation, and long-term care after a gender confirmation surgery for qualified veterans.

GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie also released the following statement regarding the choice to leave gender confirmation surgeries off the agenda:

GMHC is incredibly disappointed by today's news that a lack of federal funding will prevent the VA's rule change in support of gender confirmation surgery from taking effect. Gender confirmation surgery is a potentially life-saving treatment that is needed to protect the long-term health of individuals that require it.

There are approximately 150,000 transgender adults that have served or are currently serving in our armed forces. An inability to implement the VA's rule change will put these soldiers and veterans at significant risk. It is shameful that lawmakers and the administration are unwilling to prioritize the health care of these individuals as a result of outdated social stigmas rooted in prejudice. The unwillingness to provide funding for the VA's rule change once again reveals contempt and disregard for the trans community, a contempt that precludes not even our veterans. We urge Congress to provide the necessary funding, and provide our heroes with the healthcare and respect they deserve.

The ban on openly transgender individuals serving in the military was lifted back in June when the Defense Department announced that it would cover the costs of confirmation surgeries for veterans.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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