Male-to-Female Transgender Veterans and VA Health Care Utilization


Shipherd, Jillian C., Lauren Mizock, Shira Maguen, and Kelly E. Green. 2012. "Male-to-Female Transgender Veterans and VA Health Care Utilization." International Journal of Sexual Health 24 (1): 78-87.

Authors: Jillian C. Shipherd, Lauren Mizock, Shira Maguen, Kelly E. Green


This study examined rates of military veteran status in an American male-to-female transgender community sample (n = 141). Thirty percent were veterans (n = 43), a rate that is triple the proportion of veteran status noted in the general population (10.1%). Among the veteran subsample, we examined health care utilization, including Veterans Health Administration (VA), health, and barriers to care. Use of VA services was higher among transgender veterans (transvets) than published rates of VA use in the general population of veterans (annual 6.2% to 15.8%), with 16.3% of all transvets seeking some VA care in the past 6- months. The most common physical health problems treated at the VA in the past year were high cholesterol, blood pressure, and vision problems. Irrespective of VA use, the majority of transvets reported getting routine health care (88.4%), and their physical health ratings were commensurate with population norms. Mental health services (e.g., depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and gender identity counseling) were also utilized (9.3% VA, 25.6% non-VA) at levels consistent with the relatively low mental health functioning scores in this sample (SF-12 = 32.6, SD = 8.3). Barriers to care were endorsed more for medical than mental health treatment. In particular, transvets were concerned about medical providers’ reactions to their gender identity or sexual orientation. Given elevated rates of transvets in this community sample and reported barriers to care, culturally sensitive treatment is a priority for transvets in both VA and non-VA health care systems.

Keywords: depression, veterans

Topics: Combatants, Gender, Health, LGBTQ, Military Forces & Armed Groups Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2012

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