Addressing the Needs of Transgender Military Veterans: Better Access and More Comprehensive Care

Abstract

Purpose: There is a gap in social science literature addressing issues of access and quality of care for transgender military veterans. Psychologists, medical doctors, and other health professionals are beginning to address some of the barriers present in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system that affect veterans who are also transgender and intersex. Over a 7-year period, between 2006 and 2013, 2600 transgender veterans were served by the VA. Data from several surveys revealed that most transgender veterans perceive the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to be less than accommodating for their special needs. The goal of this study was to investigate the experiences of a sample of transgender veterans with regard to their experiences with healthcare services provided by the VHA. Methods: Using snowball sampling techniques, we were able to recruit 22 transgender military veterans to participate in our study. A combination of telephone interviews and questionnaires provided data from veterans in various branches of the military throughout the United States. Results: Findings indicate that even though the VHA is working to address issues of inequality for transgender veterans, our participants indicated that there are still some problems with administration of care, proper training of staff and physicians, and availability of comprehensive services for the unique healthcare needs of transgender individuals. Conclusion: Since our data were collected, the VA has worked to bridge the gap by focusing on increased training for VHA providers and staff and establishing LGBT programs at VA facilities. However, we suggest that one key area of importance should continue to focus on how mental health and medical providers and ancillary staff are trained to interact with and provide care for their transgender patients.

DOI: 10.1089/trgh.2016.0040

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Dietert2017AddressingTN, title={Addressing the Needs of Transgender Military Veterans: Better Access and More Comprehensive Care}, author={Michelle Dietert and Dianne Dentice and Zander Keig}, booktitle={Transgender health}, year={2017} }