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Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

LGBTQ+ Veteran care

VA Houston health care employees receive training in clinical care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans. Our trained LGBTQ+ Veteran care coordinators are fully equipped to support the health, welfare, and dignity of you and your family.

Connect with a care coordinator

Hiram Rivera-Mercado, PsyD

LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator

VA Houston health care

Phone: 281-217-9028


Mallorie Carroll, PhD

LGBTQ+ CBOC Care Coordinator

VA Houston health care

Phone: 281-796-2849


LaVonya Bennett (she/her/hers), PhD

LGBTQ+ CBOC Care Coordinator

VA Houston health care

Phone: 281-684-1137


Care we provide at VA Houston

We promote the health, welfare, and dignity of Veterans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) or a related identity. We focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, and affirmative environment when providing you with sensitive and high-quality health care services like: 

  • Mental health services, including psychosocial assessments for hormone therapy and gender confirming surgeries
  • Hormone therapy
  • Gender-affirming prosthetics
  • HIV and STI testing, counseling, and care, including PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for Veterans at risk for HIV
  • Other prevention, screening, wellness, and testing services

Policies and practices to know

The care coordinator can help you get started with care or with navigating any of these issues.

Visitation: A same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual can be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of the patient's stay.

Definition of family: "Family" may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Family members include spouses, domestic partners, different-sex and same-sex significant others.

Advance directives: Veterans may designate any person as a decision-maker for care if they won't be able to make these decisions themselves. This includes same-sex partners. Advance directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related.

Documentation in medical records: VA Houston maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation, sexual behavior, and gender identity, just like any other private health information.

Changing name or sex in records: Your name in your medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that your name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer.

Fact Sheets

Discharge Upgrade for LGBTQ+ and/or HIV positive Veterans

If you were other-than-honorably discharged due to your sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-status under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy, then you may be eligible for VA benefits. How to Apply for a Discharge Upgrade

More Resources