February 26, 2024

Ranking Member Takano: VA’s Decision on Necessary Gender-Affirming Surgery “Unacceptable”

Press Contact

Libby Carlson

WASHINGTON, DC— House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) declined to change its policy on gender-affirming surgery for veterans:

“I think I echo many in the veterans and LGBTQ+ communities that I am extremely disappointed in VA for taking so long and then refusing to change its policy for trans veterans. VA’s mission is to provide comprehensive and high-quality healthcare that veterans have earned with their service to our country. Gender-affirming care is critical to the physical and mental wellbeing of trans veterans. Denying this care will have lasting impacts. And for what?

Medically necessary healthcare for transgender people is under attack across the country, with many states moving to restrict or ban this care, including life-saving surgeries, for trans Americans. I had hoped VA would be the leader in this space, instead of giving into the extreme conservative wing of the Republican Party, who may be the loudest but are not representative of our country.  

VA has been studying the impact of gender-affirming care on the veteran community for years. All of the studies I have read point to this type of care being important and necessary for trans veterans. The Secretary gave me his word this would happen during his nomination process. I am extremely frustrated that it has taken three years for VA to make this disappointing decision. I will continue to push the Secretary to make the right decision. This unacceptable outcome cannot be the final word from this administration.”