2Center or American Progress | Ensuring the Health o Gay and Transgender Veterans
Gay and transgender veterans have served their country with bravery,even in the face of discrimination
Despie longsanding discriminaion agains gay service members
and he coninued banon miliary service by ransgender people,
many in hese communiies have answered hecall o proec he reedom o ohers, even a he cos o hiding who hey are.
For gay service members, he Deense o Marriage Ac coninues o block equal accesso many o he ederal benes aorded o oher miliary amilies.
For ransgenderpeople who serve, discriminaory policies coninue o orbid open service, conninghem o he close and prevening hem rom being heir rue selves. In ac, even aerhe demise o Don’ Ask, Don’ ell, ransgender saus and relaed medical diagnosesconinue o be grounds or auomaic disqualicaion rom eligibiliy or miliary ser- vice,
and can even be grounds or discipline or criminal prosecuion by he miliary.
Despie his pas and ongoing discriminaion, however, here are a leas 1 million gay veerans
—a number ha will only grow wih he repeal o Don’ Ask, Don’ ell
—and 300,000 ransgender veerans
who have already served heir counry. Tese veer-ans, like all ohers, deserve access o high-qualiy, comprehensive VA healh services harea hem wih airness and respec.
Gay and transgender veterans face significant health disparities
Research clearly shows ha gay and ransgender people are a increased risk or somepoorer physical and menal healh oucomes when compared o people who are no gay orransgender.
For gay and ransgender veerans, hese healh problems may be magnied because o addiional healh dispariies associaed wih veeran saus. Te inersecion o hese ideniies—and he correlaed healh risks
—should be considered by providersand policymakers who are charged wih caring or gay and ransgender veerans.Healh dispariies aecing gay and ransgender people and veerans include he ollowing.
Sudies show ha gay aduls are a higher risk or developing cerain kinds o cancer. In par-icular, gay and bisexual women are a increased risk or breas cancer,
and gay and bisexualmen have an increased risk or several ypes o cancer,
including prosae and esicular.