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VA planning to offer gender confirmation surgery to veterans

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving to offer gender confirmation surgery to transgender veterans.

The VA says the move was based on the recommendation from their physicians and clinicians for the health and well-being for thousands of veterans.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are more than 134,000 transgender veterans and more than 15,000 transgender active-duty military members.

Jeffrey Yarvis, an Army Veteran and social worker from Texas A&M Central Texas, has helped transgender veterans and believes the VA made the right decision.

“I think the VA’s attempt here is to meet the healthcare needs of the veterans, period,” he said.

“It is a lifesaving activity. The risk factors for people that’re transgender are particularly higher. Their suicide rates are typically 40-50% higher and the impact of bullying and alienation are tremendous psychologically.”

According to the VA, transgender veterans die by suicide at twice the rate of cisgender veterans. Yarvis adds even though there are those that disagree with gender confirmation and wouldn’t want their tax dollars paying for it, offering the surgery arguably helps the VA more financially.

“When you don’t give them the care that they need, you end up costing the system more money,” he said.

“People in those situations will continue to search for solutions to those problems by accessing other programs in the VA system.”

The VA says it will take exactly two years to determine a federal rule making process, a budget and full implementation into the system.

A system aiming to improve the health and quality of life for the people that served the nation.

“These people served their country and did it honorably,” Yarvis said.

“So, they deserve the best possible care they can get.”

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