VA Works to Educate LGBTQ Veterans about Healthcare Options
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
HARTFORD, Conn. -- LGBTQ+ veterans in Connecticut and beyond can get help learning about health services available to them, through a 10-week program offered by the Veterans Health Administration (VA).
Research suggests general mental health and wellness is poorer among LGBTQ+ individuals compared to other groups.
Dr. Tiffany Lange, clinical psychologist at the VA, said many veterans are unsure about healthcare options, or are concerned they could face discrimination about their sexuality. The "PRIDE In All Who Served" program works to change that.
"And so, we're sharing the relevant information about how to have a conversation with a medical provider, and empowering our veterans to get connected to the services most relevant to their overall healthcare, so that we can promote wellness and social connectedness," Lange explained.
This month, the Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill to allow any veteran who receives an other-than-honorable discharge, and who believes it was based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, to file an application for state-based veterans benefits.
More information about the federal V-A program is online at va.gov.
Lange explained perceived stigma can prevent people from revealing their sexuality and accessing medical treatment provided by the military, and she acknowledged there's more work to be done to identify the services this population needs.
"And so, constantly striving to improve, identify what those needs are, and most importantly, send a message that VA is welcoming of all who have served," Lange stated.
Last week, in a speech commemorating Pride Month, President Joe Biden announced the Department of Health and Human Services would protect against discrimination in healthcare services. Earlier this year, Biden rescinded a military ban on openly transgender service members.
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