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Yale veterans clinic sues VA over gender confirmation surgery

The Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
J.D. Allen
The Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Students at the Yale University School of Law sued the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in federal court to force the agency to cover gender confirmation surgery for transgender veterans.

It’s the second time the veterans clinic is taking the VA to court over the rights of transgender veterans. In February, the VA denied a request to start the formal rulemaking process that would provide gender confirmation surgeries.

In court documents filed Monday, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) said the VA's denial of the rulemaking process was unconstitutional and discriminatory based on sex and transgender status.

“[The VA has] promised time and again that providing gender confirmation surgery is a top priority for them, and have not acted on that promise,” said Sophie Park, a member of the team that represents TAVA.

Park said gender confirmation surgery can be "life-saving" for patients who experience gender dysphoria.

“This will be such an important step towards inclusive care and making sure trans veterans feel cared for and safe.”

When the VA denied the rulemaking petition, Sec. Denis McDonough said the VA was still collecting necessary information in light of the passage of the PACT Act, the massive expansion of veteran benefits with health problems related to toxic exposure.

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.