VA Clinic For TRANSGENDER Vets Opens In Arizona
No, this is not from Duffel Blog. The women’s clinic at a Tuscon, AZ Veterans Administration clinic is scaling back in order to provide transgender-specific services.
(Sue) McConnell came out as transgender while serving with the Navy in Vietnam, which meant leaving the military. Coming out took a personal toll as well, and her family has shunned her, but she says she simply had no choice.
“I had to be who I am, no matter the cost,” she says.
McConnell is one of more than 130 transgender veterans receiving treatment at the Tucson VA. Due to the high demand for these services, the women’s clinic at the hospital is now devoting one day a month to the expansion of care for transgender veterans.
“We have been flooded with phone calls since we’ve announced that the clinic will be opening — patients from all over wanting to know about it, to be able to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Sonia Perez-Padilla, the women’s clinic director. She’s now also in charge of the transgender clinic, which includes a psychologist, social workers, clinical pharmacists and a therapist.
In 2011, the VA central office issued a directive that all Veterans Affairs hospitals begin to provide care for transgender veterans. That’s when Perez-Padilla’s women’s clinic began offering treatment for gender dysphoria, which replaced the previous diagnosis of gender identity disorder.
“There’s nothing wrong with these veterans, OK? They’re unhappy because there’s a mismatch between who they are and their biological organs, but it’s not a disorder at all,” she says.