AMSA Joins Amicus Brief to Call for VA Support of Surgical Treatment for Transgender Veterans with Gender Dysphoria

August 13, 2017

Media Contact
Joey Johnson
National President
American Medical Student Association
Email: pr@amsa.org


The United States Department of Veterans Affairs categorically refuses to provide transgender veterans carrying a diagnosis of gender dysphoria with medically necessary surgical treatment at their facilities, placing patients at greater risk of physical and emotional harm.

STERLING, Virginia – June 29, 2017 – Today the American Medical Student Association joined seven other health professional organization global leaders in filing an amicus brief in the federal appeals court in a case against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

These groups, collectively representing the voices of millions of interprofessional health care providers from physicians, medical students, and physician assistants and students, to nurses and interdisciplinary public health professionals, all argue that the exclusion of medically necessary transition-related surgeries from the VA’s medical benefits package impinges upon medical and mental health professionals’ ability to provide medically necessary care to each veteran patient with gender dysphoria.

This blanket ban is unsupported by current medical evidence in the scientific literature. This places transgender veterans with gender dysphoria who both receive their care through the VA system and require surgical care for gender transitioning at greater risk of physical and emotional harm. Additionally, it contradicts the VA’s open acknowledgment of the role surgical treatment plays for many transgender patients with gender dysphoria.

AMSA is a proud supporter and ally with a long-standing history employing our platform to amplify and advocate for the rights of the LGB and transgender communities. We recognize the ongoing stigmas and double standards for these communities that still exist within the medical profession, as well as the compounding effects of health disparities in these communities and their intersectional minority members.

AMSA adamantly opposes treatment policies that discriminate against patients based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, or that inhibit their access to quality care. Health care for transgender people should be individualized, holistic, and comprehensive – including, but not limited to surgical treatment– and transgender persons in the military should be allowed to openly undergo gender transition and be eligible for the equitable benefits and rights afforded to cisgendered service personnel, including health care.

By: Daniel H. Gouger, M.D., AMSA Education & Advocacy Fellow

About the American Medical Student Association: 

AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. To learn more about AMSA, our strategic priorities, or joining the organization, please visit us online.