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Policy Clarified for Vets Changing Gender Markers

Policy Clarified for Vets Changing Gender Markers

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Transgender veterans will now be able to change the gender marker on their medical records by simply providing a physician's letter confirming gender reassignment, according to a clarification of a Veterans Health Administration policy.

The VHA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, issued a directive last year on providing respectful and appropriate care to transgender veterans, but it was not clear about the documentation needed for changing the gender marker, notes the National Center for Transgender Equality's blog. The requirement for "official documentation ... was initially interpreted incorrectly by some staff and facilities to require proof of sex reassignment surgery," the center reports.

Now, with the clarification, "a vet must simply provide a letter from a physician certifying that the vet has changed genders and has had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition," according to the blog. "To be clear, the physician's letter does not need to certify that some specific surgery or any particular medical procedure has been completed -- only appropriate clinical care for the individual veteran as determined by the physician."

This is similar to documentation now required by the U.S. State Department for changing gender markers on passports and by some states for doing so on driver's licenses. The center is preparing "a user-friendly guide" to the policy and will release it in a few weeks.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.