ATTENTION TRANSGENDER VETERANS
Monica F. Helms
Former President Transgender American Veterans Association
Today, Saturday, June 19th, Denis McDonough, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, announced that transgender veterans will receive full medical benefits from the VA, INCLUDING GE***AL REASSINMENT SURGERY. That is correct; veterans can now receive GRS through the VA, along with psychiatric assistance and hormone treatment.
Eighteen and a half years ago, Angela Brightfeather and I started TAVA because we found that transgender veterans were not being treated equally in every VA facility across the country. Some VAs treated trans veterans well, but would not do GRS. However, other facilities would not treat trans veterans at all. We found that unfair to the thousands who served and gave their time and pain for our country.
It took us eight and a half years before we got the VA to come out with a directive that showed how to properly treat and address trans veterans. Yet, they still would not cover GRS. TAVA was on other fights as well. They fought for transgender people to serve in the military and won that as well.
Now, after almost two decades of fighting for trans veterans and military service members, TAVA is again on the front line of another win for our veterans. Some will argue that this will cost way too much money. A recent report from The Palm Center shows that the VA will spend more on birth control than they will for GRS.
I feel proud of being part of the formation of the Transgender American Veterans Association and proud to see them achieve a goal Angela and I set for ourselves in 2003. Thank you TAVA for helping our people.