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Learn what the PACT Act means for your VA benefits

LGBTQ+ Veteran Care

San Francisco VA Health Care System employees receive training in clinical care that is responsive to the unique needs of LGBTQ+ Veterans, as well as their caregivers and family, including chosen family. Our LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinators are fully equipped to support the health, welfare, and dignity of you and your loved ones.

Michael Burnias PsyD

LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator

VA San Francisco health care

Phone: 415-281-5126

Care we provide at VA San Francisco health care

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: 

  • Primary and specialty care
  • Gender affirming hormone therapy, with the option of gamete preservation prior to starting hormones
  • Gender affirming speech therapy
  • Gender-affirming prosthetics
  • Substance use and alcohol treatment
  • Tobacco use treatment
  • Treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for Veterans at risk for HIV
  • Intimate partner violence reduction and treatment or aftereffects
  • Military Sexual Trauma (MST) screening and treatment of aftereffects
  • Suicide prevention services - If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact Veterans Crisis Line to receive , confidential support and crisis intervention available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Dial 988 then press 1, text 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.Net/Chat
  • Whole Health
  • Cancer screening, prevention, and treatment
  • Mental health services, including psychosocial assessments for hormone therapy and gender confirming surgeries
  • Peer support

Policies and practices to know

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

Visitation: Veterans may choose anyone they like to be present with them, for emotional support, during the course of hospital stays.

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

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 partners of any gender. Advance directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related.

Documentation in medical records: VA San Francisco 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.

If you change your legal name, you can request that your record be changed to reflect your legal name change.

It is VHA policy that Veterans must be addressed and referred to by the Veteran’s chosen name, even when Veteran is not present. A preferred name field has been created in the medical record system to help VA staff know this information. Preferred name may also be referred to as “chosen name” or “name used.” A preferred name field can be added by contacting Member Services.

VA understands that Veterans with transgender and gender diverse identities face increased health risks and unique challenges in health care, and is committed to promoting a welcoming environment that is inclusive of all Veterans. Previously, your medical record had only one place for your sex and gender. Now, you can have both your Birth Sex and your Self-Identified Gender Identity (SIGI) in your medical record.

Multidisciplinary Trans Health Clinic

San Francisco VA Health Care System is home to a multidisciplinary trans health clinic, staffed by experts in the field. Referrals to the Trans Health Clinic can be made by any VA provider. 

Connect with a care coordinator

Kaela Joseph PhD

Women Veterans Program Manager

VA San Francisco health care

Phone: 415-221-4810, ext. 2-3956