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This Pride Month, VA is proud of all LGBTQ+ Veterans
Published On: June 28th, 2022|564 words|1.9 min read|
Shawn Liu is the director of communications for the VA Homeless Programs Office. Air Force photo by Charles Hammond.
VA joins President Biden in saluting our LGBTQ+ Veterans this month, and every month. Pride Month is also a reminder that just as LGBTQ+ Veterans volunteered to defend our freedom, it is our responsibility to help defend theirs.
Many of the risk factors for homelessness that LGBTQ+ Veterans face – including decreased social support, stressful life events, and chronic discrimination – overlap with risk factors for suicide. Tragically, those who have a sexual and/or gender minority are more likely than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to experience suicidal ideation and behavior.
The high rates of these outcomes among LGBTQ+ Veterans are distressing, but they can be prevented.
VA: A place for all Veterans
Providing care that is free from stigma is a critical step toward ending homelessness, preventing suicide and ensuring all LGBTQ+ Veterans can live safely and freely in the country they served.
VA is committed to making all Veterans feel comfortable and supported. At every VA medical center, an LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator is ready to help Veterans navigate their care, answer their questions, and advocate on their behalf. Through initiatives like the PRIDE program, VA facilitates training for staff members and Veterans alike to reduce health disparities for Veterans across the nation.
In 2021, VA Secretary Denis McDonough ordered a review of VA policies to ensure that transgender Veterans and employees do not face discrimination based on their gender identity and expression.
Flying the flag with pride
As our nation celebrates Pride Month, VA encourages all Americans to identify how they can best support the LGBTQ+ Veterans in their lives. Honoring them could be as simple as asking their preferred pronouns, sharing resources that could help a fellow Veteran, or displaying the Rainbow Flag designed by Army Veteran Gilbert Baker in 1978.
This Pride Month, VA honors and celebrates Baker, and all LGBTQ+ Veterans who have dedicated their lives to ensuring America fulfills the promise of freedom to all Americans, no matter who they are, or whom they love.
Vantage Point, VA’s official blog, has transitioned to VA News. For the latest in VA news and information, visit the new site at news.va.gov and update your bookmarks. Vantage Point is no longer being updated.