Population Page - LGBT Veterans - Office of Health Equity
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Office of Health Equity


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Population Page - LGBT Veterans


Visualizations and Dashboards

LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Leader logo LGBTQ Healthcare Equality Top Performer

The Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) recognizes healthcare facilities that demonstrate equitable treatment and inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) patients, visitors, and employees in the following areas:

  • Patient non-discrimination
  • Equal visitation
  • Employment non-discrimination
  • Training in LGBTQ patient centered care
  • Patient services and support
  • Employee benefits and policies
  • Transgender inclusive health insurance
  • Patient & community engagement

Healthcare facilities that receive a score of 100 on the benchmarking tool are designated as a "Leader in LGBTQ Healthcare Equality." Facilities with a score of 80 to 95 are designated as a "Top Performer."

In 2020, 64 VA medical centers were designated as a Leader, and 34 were designated as a Top Performer, in LGBT Healthcare Equality.

VA Medical Center Participation in Healthcare Equality Index, 2018-2020


Information Briefs

LGBT Mental Health DisparitiesLGBT Mental Health Disparities
    • This Information Brief highlights mental health disparities among LGBT Veterans.  The Information Brief also highlights the 2018 Healthcare Equality Index (HEI), a tool put forth by the Human Rights Campaign that the Office of Health Equity supports and efforts within the Birmingham, Alabama VA Medical Center to provide LGBT Veterans with high quality patient-centered care.

OHE Transgender Research Protocol

The purpose of this research protocol and related research is to examine medical and mental health outcomes among Transgender Veterans and identify disparities these Veterans face when seeking VHA care.
  • Blosnich, J. R., Brown, G. R., Shipherd, J. C., Kauth, M., Piegari, R. I., Bossarte, R. M. (2013). Prevalence of Gender Identity Disorder and Suicide Risk among Transgender Veterans Utilizing Veterans Health Administration Care. American Journal of Public Health, 103(10): e27-e32.
  • Blosnich, J. R., Brown, G. R., Sybin, W., Jones, K. T., Bossarte, R. M. (2014). Mortality among Veterans with Transgender-related Diagnoses in the Veterans Health Administration, FY2000–2009. LGBT Health, 1(4): 269-276. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2014.0050.
  • Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2015). Health Correlates of Criminal Justice Involvement in 4,793 Transgender Veterans. LGBT Health, 2(4): 297-305. doi:10.1089/lgbt.2015.0052.
  • Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2015). Incidence of Breast Cancer in a Cohort of 5,135 Transgender Veterans. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 149(1), 191-198.
  • Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2015). Mental Health and Medical Health Disparities in 5135 Transgender Veterans Receiving Healthcare in the Veterans Health Administration: A Case-Control Study. LGBT Health.
  • Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2014). Racial Health Disparities in a Cohort of 5,135 Transgender Veterans. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 1(4), 257-266.
  • Kauth, M. R., Shipherd, J. C., Lindsay, J., Blosnich, J. R., Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2014). Access to care for transgender Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration: 2006–2013. American Journal of Public Health, 104(S4), S532-S534.

VA Research Publications

  • Blosnich, J. R., Mays, V. M., Cochran, S. D. (2014). Suicidality Among Veterans: Implications of Sexual Minority Status. American Journal of Public Health, 104(S4): S535-S537.
  • Kauth, M. R., Shipherd, J. C., Lindsay, J., Blosnich, J. R., Brown, G. R., Jones, K. T. (2014). Access to Care for Transgender Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration: 2006-2013. American Journal of Public Health, 104(S4): S532-S534.
  • Sharpe, V. A., Uchendu, U. S. (2014). Ensuring Appropriate Care of LGBT Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration. Hastings Center Report 44, no. 5: S53-S55.

Health Disparities Evidence-based Synthesis Reviews

VA Health Services Research & Development Publication Briefs

The VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) pursues research that underscores all aspects of VA healthcare: patient care, care delivery, health outcomes, cost, and quality.
  • LGBT Women Veterans Report Missing Needed Health Care Due to Concerns about Interacting with Other Veterans
    This study sought to examine LGBT women Veterans’ experiences within the VA healthcare system, and whether their experiences impact use of VA care. Findings showed that the majority of women Veterans reported feeling welcome at their VA. However, fewer LGBT women reported feeling welcome and safe at VA compared with non-LGBT women Veterans. After controlling for demographics, health status, and positive trauma screens, LGBT identity was predictive of women Veterans experiencing harassment from male Veterans at VA in the past 12 months, as well as feeling unwelcome or unsafe at VA. LGBT women Veterans were about 3 times more likely than non-LGBT women Veterans to attribute missing needed care in the previous 12 months to concerns about interacting with other Veterans. Study participant descriptions of harassment indicated that male Veterans’ comments and actions were distressing and influenced LGBT women Veteran’s healthcare accessing behavior. Despite VA’s ongoing efforts to educate employees and change the culture toward a more inclusive environment, more targeted work addressing the needs of LGBT women Veterans may be needed. (July 1, 2018)
  • Medical Care Supplement Features Articles by VA Researchers on Improving the Quality and Equity of Health and Healthcare
    In 2016, HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) and the Health Equity and Rural Outreach Innovation Center (HEROIC) hosted a state-of-the-science conference. This field-based meeting to “Engage Diverse Stakeholders and Operational Partners in Advancing Health Equity in the VA Healthcare System” brought together health equity investigators, representatives of vulnerable Veteran populations, and operational leaders to identify strategies to advance the implementation of evidence-based interventions to improve the quality and equity of health and healthcare. The conference focused on three specific vulnerable Veteran populations: racial and ethnic minorities, homeless Veterans, and Veterans from the LGBT community. This supplement features several articles that emanated from this meeting. (September 1, 2017)
  • Issues for Sexual and Gender Minority Veterans Receiving VA Healthcare
    This article summarizes emergent research findings regarding sexual and gender minority (SGM) Veterans, and the first initiatives that have been implemented by VA to promote quality care. Being a member of both the Veteran and SGM communities may contribute to a higher level of risk for poor health than membership in just one of these populations. A recent VA study indicated that only 33% of SGM Veterans reported open communication about their sexual orientation with VA healthcare providers, while 25% reported avoiding certain VA services because of concerns about stigma. In another study of 202 VA providers and 58 SGM Veterans, less than one-third of all participants viewed VA as welcoming to SGM Veterans. To address these issues, VA has created new programs, such as the Office of Health Equity LGBT Workgroup, which works to address inequities in the healthcare environment for SGM Veterans. VA also created two new part-time LGBT Program Coordinator positions, through the Office of Patient Care Services, who advise leadership on policy and practice issues related to SGM Veterans. In June 2011, VA released the first national policy to describe the services that are available to transgender Veterans. Other recent VA policy changes include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity and expression” now being included in VA non-discrimination and caregiver policies. Educational resources and trainings have been developed for VA staff about culturally appropriate care for SGM Veterans. Further research is needed to better understand the SGM population, their healthcare needs, and how these needs vary in relation to gender, race/ethnicity, and other factors, as well as in evaluation of provider training and policies. (July 1, 2013)

PubMed Search Results

Pubmed SearchPeer-reviewed literature on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Veterans.
 Health Outcomes

Please check back for more resources.


VA National Partners

The Office of Health Equity is committed to working closely with our VA colleagues to ensure that Veterans receive appropriate individualized health care in a way that eliminates disparate health outcomes and assures health equity. OHE's VA Partners include:

External Partners

The Office of Health Equity is committed to working closely with other government agencies and non-governmental organizations to ensure that Veterans receive appropriate individualized health care in a way that eliminates disparate health outcomes and assures health equity. OHE's External Partners include:
 Workforce Training

VHA TRAIN Portal for CME Transgender Trainings

Cultural Competence Training

VHA Providers Explore Unconscious Bias

VHA providers share their stories of creating awareness of unconscious bias within their clinical practice and how bias impacts us all. A bias is a tendency. Most biases are natural. However, biases can cause problems when we are not aware of them and we apply them inappropriately to our everyday choices, which can lead to discriminatory practices and result in poorer health outcomes and experiences for patients. The brief videos were created by the VA Office of Health Equity and Employee Education System in an effort to ensure all Veterans receive high quality and equitable healthcare. The videos were recorded April 2013.

Harvard Implicit Associations Test

The Implicit Association Test measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. This tool may be especially interesting if it shows that you have an implicit attitude that you did not know about.
To view additional videos, visit Tools for Veterans.