VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veteran Care
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) is committed to providing quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Veterans. Excellent care has no boundaries.
VA NY Harbor Healthcare System seeks to promote the health, welfare, and dignity of LGBT Veterans and their families. We are committed to making sensitive and high quality health care accessible. Our policies and practices focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment of care for LGBT Veterans. Our employees receive training in clinically competent care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBT Veterans.
LGBT Veterans face increased health risks and unique challenges in accessing quality health care. Our Patient Non-Discrimination Policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Below are relevant policies and services:
The VA NY Harbor Healthcare System Definition of "Family"
The VA New York Harbor Healthcare System adopts the definition of "family" put forth by the Human Rights Campaign's National Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). "Family" refers to any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual's life. This may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of "family" include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
Patients may designate any person as a decision-maker for care should you become unable to make these decisions yourself. This includes designating a same-sex partner as a surrogate decision maker. Advanced Directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related. Please inform staff if you desire to create an Advance Directive.
Documentation in Medical Records
The VA NY Harbor Healthcare System maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior as it does with all other protected health information. We encourage you to inform your healthcare provider of your sexual orientation/gender identity so appropriate care can be provided.
Concerns and/or Complaints
If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at the Manhattan or Brooklyn VA Medical Centers, we encourage you to make your concerns known to your Provider and/or a Patient Advocate.
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinators
LGBT VCCs help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) veterans access quality care and facilitate a welcoming environment for LGBT patients.
Do Ask! Do Tell! LGBTQ Support Groups
The Brooklyn and Manhattan Campuses offer support groups for veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning. The purpose of these groups is to provide a safe and supportive space in which veterans who identify as LGBTQ can meet and share current and past struggles, offer each other support, and learn to thrive as LGBTQ identified individuals. Specific attention is paid to the difficulties of navigating dual identities.
LGBT Veteran Resources*
• American Veterans for Equal Rights
• Outserve/Service Members Legal Defense Network
• The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
• The LGBT National Help Center
National and Local Resources for Transgender Veterans*
• Changing Your Name and Gender in Medical Records Kits
• VA National Policy on Transgender Care
• International Foundation for Gender Education
• National Center for Transgender Equality
• 10 Things Transgender Persons Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Care Provider
• The Sylvia Rivera Law Project
• The World Professional Association for Transgender Health
• Trans Lifeline
LGBT Health Resources*
• CDC LGBT Health
• American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Gay & Bisexual Men
• American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Lesbian & Bisexual Women
• 10 Things Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgender Persons Should Discuss with Their Healthcare Provider
• LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet: Transgender Female Health Care
• LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet: Lesbian and Bisexual Female Health Care
• LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet: Gay and Bisexual Male Health Care
• LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet: Transgender Male Health Care
• The VA Office of Diversity and Inclusion
• Patient Non-Discrimination Policy
• LGBT Organizations
• LGBT Veteran Health Care Fact Sheet
* Links will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs Website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites. Links will open in a new window.
LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) Program
As of March 2016, each VA facility has a local LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) who is appointed by their facility leadership. The VCC is responsible for promoting best practices for serving LGBT Veterans and connecting LGBT Veterans to services.
To learn important information about the unique health risks of LGBT Veterans, download these relevant fact sheets. Here you can also find information about relevant services offered by VA.