Monday, May 23, 2016

Transgender Veterans’ Healthcare Disparities, Veterans' Benefits (Research, Video 6:37)

Healthcare disparities are inequalities that exist when members of certain populations do not benefit from the same health status as other groups. Although transgender veterans served proudly, they suffer as a result of significant disparities. The Veterans Health Administration is the largest healthcare system in the United States, an ideal place to do research on how equal medical and mental health services are between transgender veterans matched with non-transgendered veterans. Transgender veterans’ healthcare research is particularly important because no large controlled studies like this one existed before.

This study included 5,135 clinically diagnosed matched transgender veterans and non-transgender veterans. The purpose was to determine whether medical and/or mental health disparities existed with the transgender veterans. 

Results indicated that statistically significant transgender disparities were present in all 10 mental health conditions examined, including depression, suicidality, serious mental illnesses, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Transgender veterans were also more likely to have been homeless, to have been incarcerated, and to have reported sexual trauma while on active duty. Significant disparities in the prevalence of medical diagnoses for transgender veterans were also detected, with HIV disease representing the largest disparity between groups.

On a global level, transgender veterans were also found to have disparities in psychiatric and medical diagnoses compared to matched non-transgender veterans. The Transgender AmericanVeterans Association (TAVA)is an organization that acts proactively with other concerned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations to ensure that transgender veterans will receive appropriate care for their medical conditions. Unfortunately that equality does not exist. In terms of policy, healthcare screening, and service delivery in Veterans Health Administration and other healthcare systems, it is critical that corrective policies are implemented and monitored to eliminate these inequalities in treatment of transgender veterans.
This following informative video produced by Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood, a former veteran, was created to give transgender veterans and the public a better understanding of the Veteran Administration benefits and procedures as they relate to transgender veterans starting the transition process which does not include reassignment surgery, follow-up care, and review of their rights.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
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