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Blumenthal demands end to LGBTQ discrimination at VA

Carolyn Kaster

Over a dozen LGBTQ advocates joined U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) to demand the department of Veterans Affairs end its pattern of discrimination against women, LGBTQ and other minority veterans at VA health care facilities.

Fourteen veteran advocacy groups, including the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, have petitioned the federal government to formally adopt an anti-discrimination rule for the VA.

Blumenthal said the Affordable Health Care Act prohibits discrimination in federal health care programs, but the law has not been enforced. 

“Issuing regulations is long, long, long overdue," Blumenthal said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. "The ACA dates from the Obama administration, which failed to implement regulations, the Trump administration failed to do it, and so far, the Biden administration has failed. Implementing these regulations is the key to preventing discrimination.”

He called the petition a "powerful" but "friendly" message to push VA leadership to end decades of discrimination.

The advocacy groups are represented by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic in their rule-making petition.

“Our clients have been dead-named, misgendered, targeted by VA security and denied access to the care that they require," said Alex Johnson, a legal intern with the group. "This harassment has occurred at VA facilities across the country, from Connecticut to Florida to West Virginia to right here in DC.” 

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.