Earlier this week, Secretary Denis McDonough ordered a review of VA policies to ensure that transgender Veterans and employees do not face discrimination on the basis of their gender identity and expression. Once completed, this review would put VA policies in line with Department of Defense policies and President Biden’s executive order ensuring that transgender Americans are treated with dignity and respect, and are able to live their lives free from worry that they could be discriminated against because of who they are.

The policy review that the secretary is mandating is far-reaching, requiring VA to examine the entire slate of services that the department provides to Veterans to ensure maximum equity and inclusivity, including the delivery of medically necessary, gender affirmation care and procedures.

However, some of the most impactful changes could also be the most basic, such as those that would afford Veterans the basic dignity of being recognized for how they self-identify. To that extent, changes could include ensuring that VA systems are able to accommodate a Veteran’s preferred name and pronouns when interacting with VA.

Ensuring better access to VA services could vastly improve the lives of LGBT Veterans, who are more likely to report poor health conditions and suffer from multiple chronic conditions than other Veterans. This disparity is partly a result of having to face stigma and discrimination, resulting in LGBT Veterans forgoing needed medical care.

The situation becomes more acute when examining the barriers that exist for the more than 134,000 Veterans and 15,000 service members who identify as transgender. The issues facing the Veteran community as a whole are magnified significantly for transgender and gender-diverse Veterans. Ensuring access to VA care and services could have a significant impact to this underserved community. Transgender Veterans, for example, die by suicide at almost six times the rate of the general population, and access to gender-affirming health care could significantly reduce suicidality.

Homelessness among transgender Veterans also increased by 89% between 2015-2018, even though it decreased by 48% among all Veterans. A strategy for reducing homelessness that addresses the specific barriers that transgender Veterans face could effectively end the prevalence of housing instability within the community.

Finally, better access to the array of VA Veteran readiness and employment services could improve the lives of transgender workers who are at greater risk of poverty and unemployment.

VA will be welcoming to all Veterans

The good news is that the department is not starting from scratch. Although VA still has a long way to go in ensuring that transgender Veterans are afforded the full scope of VA services that other Veterans are afforded, this policy review would build on the disparate efforts and programs across the department that are currently in place to ensure that VA is welcoming to all Veterans regardless of their gender identity and expression.

All VA Medical Centers, for example, have LGBT Veteran care coordinators who work with staff to ensure that LGBT Veterans receive the same level of care even after “coming out” to their providers. Additionally, programs like PRIDE are training VA employees to deliver a group wellness class to LGBT Veterans that teaches skills for coping with the specific challenges they face, including accessing VA care.

These programs are bridging some of the gaps in services that LGBT Veterans receive, and a 2015 survey that showed 87% of transgender Veterans being always or mostly treated respectfully indicates that we are more than ready and able to fully close that gap.

Fulfilling our commitment

A review of policies and procedures across VA would standardize the services and support that we provide to LGBT Veterans and could amplify the pre-existing programs that are already creating a more inclusive environment for all Veterans. This review, and the changes that it could herald, would bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to care for those who shall have borne the battle.

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106 Comments

  1. Audrey Neldon March 21, 2021 at 2:39 am

    I am a transgender vet I did not ask to be this it’s not a choice. From age four I was made fun of humiliated and beat to be “normal”. I cried every night begging Your so called God to kill me. I prayed day in and day out to make how I feel go away or change me to let me wake up as a girl or not wake up at all.
    Surgeries can cost up to 50 grand of any of you have a extra 50 grand laying round I could borrow and pay you back over the next fifty years sure.
    I have never asked for a free handout but I joined served honorably and went to war hoping to die there. I didn’t want to come home I even went on as a 88 Mike a truck driver you know the people who hit IEDs daily.
    I didn’t die I drove every night and never hit one bomb not even a fire cracker.
    I came home drank a lot I mean a lot tried to kill myself a few times. My ex wife kicked the gun out my hands, dug the pills out my mouth and throat as I was passing out and
    Stuck her fingers down my throat, busted down a bathroom door to cut herself on a knife I had.
    The thought of death never goes away hormones ones and therapy doesn’t change give you a vag. Horomones does very little and speech therapy don’t help everyone.
    It’s funny you think we choose this it’s funny you think we wanted this. It’s down right insulting you would even once for a split second compare surgeries needed to save a life as a choice.
    You want facts stop reading the false news stop listening to people like preachers who have no clue so they are assuming they know and start talking to transgender people.
    I went to war to die for your right to hate me the least respect you owe me is at least getting the truth from actual transgender people and not from someone who isn’t.

  2. Rusty March 16, 2021 at 6:35 am

    I must say, in my opinion, the best comment in this thread was on 2-24-2021 @ 1838.
    The simplicity is outstanding.
    THANKS

  3. Megan Reeley March 11, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    After reading this thread, l must say, from the negative comments and downright name calling. A little respect for the lgbt vets seems in order.

  4. Margaret P. Clarke March 5, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Everyone wants to make sure that absolutely everyone is treated with dignity and respect but how about we fix the current issues like Oh you are a “white woman we don’t see people like you here”. Detroit VA. Nothing to do with my 20+ years of service nor my disability rating. How about just basic respect and care for each patient.

    “I am not giving you pain medicine”. I didn’t come for pain medicine, I have pain medicine its not working, I need a shot, I think its steroids you can check my records. “I am not giving you a pain medicine shot”. I need something to calm the nerve in my leg from my shattered vertebra that is cutting off my nerves. “This is not ER care”. Listen I cannot drive 2 hours to the hospital when my legs when I cannot feel my legs. I have an appointment and just need a simple shot, I think its a steroid that calms the nerves down. “I read the emails to your doctor and looked at your medicine and you already got your pain meds”. Are you even listening to what I am saying? “I read the email from your doctor she already sent you pain medicine”. Who are you talking to because apparently you have someone else in mind, what is the name on the file because you are obviously not even listening to what I am saying. You must have me confused with someone else because its not me. I don’t need and I do not want pain medicine I have pain medicine its not working I need a shot to calm the nerves down, check my file.

    BASIC CARE AND BASIC RESPECT is NOT BEING TREATED LIKE A CRACK HEAD AT THE VA.

    I could have gotten real medicine and care on the street corner or drugs at an unlicensed pharmaceutical and yet you are NOW worried about basic respect and dignity. Tell me if we all say that we are Transgendered will we all start getting basic respect and care? Does the Transgendered ID need to be service connected please tell us now because WE would ALL Like the basic respect and dignity package.

  5. Armis March 4, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Whoever moderated these comments is obviously anti free speech and a liberal. Take Brooklyn’s comment above. I responded to it and was censored. Nothing inflammatory or disrespectful like their comment. But I mentioned the current administration in a negative light. Well…because they are dishonorable ppl. My point is they are censoring conservatives and anyone who challenges their fascist plans. This subject is loaded with politics. The science is politically biased. It is a mental disorder and no tax payer should be paying for mutilation or hormone replacement. What I’ve learned here is that the trans veteran is a hustler. They are hustling any and all they can from society and especially the VA. It’s disgusting.

    [Editor: Here is the VA social media disclaimer. Please read it: https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/disclaimer/ ]

    • Logic Notfaith March 5, 2021 at 10:15 am

      I’m exceedingly liberal, and I find myself agreeing with you. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
      Thank you for sharing your perspective. People must be able to communicate honestly and openly to come to a greater understanding of each other.

      This might seem silly in light of the seriousness of it all, but as a female who has always had an extremely small chest (excepting when I breastfed my daughter), I learned from society that I was less of a woman. When I was younger that caused me some distress. I mean, clothes for women usually leave room for what is seen as normal female anatomy. Does that entitle me to have an insurer or the government pay for breast implants? I think not. Luckily, I accept myself as I am now, and without anyone else having to fund elective surgery. I wish for everyone to be as fortunate in finding peace with their bodies, as “imperfect” as we all are.

    • Cass March 11, 2021 at 1:51 pm

      and most of the time it is because of mental disorders and the medication used to treat such that erectile dysfunction happens. Yet you all want that viagra and cialis, that the taxpayers pay for. So in your thinking it is ok to pay for a man to be able to have sex, but not for a person to be able to be themselves.

  6. Pastor Steve Hartman February 27, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    I must join the others who feel that it is not proper for the American taxpayers to pay for re-assignment surgery for someone who ‘feels’ that they “need” to be of another gender.
    I DO support medical and mental health support of people, even those who have changed their sex, if they have served our country.
    But, if they are out of the service, and wish for the government to pay for a surgery, that is ‘elective,’ I believe they should seek another physician for that.

    • Timothy Olszewski March 2, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      I am an American citizen who also was called to serve. I fully support anything that makes a current or past member of this elite group of Americans have a good life. Thomas Jefferson said this when he wrote the phrase “the pursuit of happiness”. My religious beliefs are mine not others. This is what makes me an American.

    • Klaire Keller March 3, 2021 at 11:43 am

      I’m so disappointed to see that you chose to comment so ignorantly on a topic you appear to know so little about. Let’s start with your last sentence first. Medical and surgical interventions for appropriately diagnosed transgender persons are NOT ‘elective’, as your comment states. You probably continue to regurgitate this misinformation because you’ve heard it a number of times in illegitimate conversations on the topic and have failed to do your due diligence in finding correct answers. I won’t say for sure but I suspect you do that with a lot of things. There are medical and psychiatric organizations like the AMA, the Endocrine Society, WPATH, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and others that develop criteria for what is and is not medically necessary and with appropriately diagnosed gender dysphoria these interventions are medically necessary. What you don’t know may or may not hurt you but what you don’t know will absolutely hurt others. I fully support your ability to believe whatever you please including religious beliefs right up to the point where your beliefs hurt or exclude others. Then your beliefs become illegitimate and a threat to yourself, others, and society. That, as an American, is why your right to religious freedom only goes so far. I certainly hope that you already know this and your comment is simply a case of failing to understand this topic deeply enough and failing to understand that every topic has multiple levels of analysis which you may have not yet considered.

      • Rusty March 3, 2021 at 9:54 pm

        “Elective” is scheduled and not an emergency procedure. For a list of “medical appropriateness” requirements see: Gender Reassignment, bcbst.com… About 20 hoops to jump through and the cost is >$30,000. Try to remind yourself how lucky you are not to be confined to a wheelchair or wasting away in an old folks home or any number of debilitating situations. Try to reach out to someone less fortunate, replace your sadness with gladness in helping someone else. Be happy that you are not Ms Jewel Shuping. Be happy you are alive and can see. Life is too short to let it fritter away. Do right and risk the consequences.

        • Klaire Keller March 4, 2021 at 5:20 pm

          Wow, Rusty! Virtually none of your comment is correct. ‘scheduled’ or ’emergency’ aren’t the determining criteria for medical necessity and insurance companies don’t determine medical necessity. You seem like another lazy brain that doesn’t properly validate information they post. BTW, you were responding to someone who is intimately familiar with all those ‘hoops’. You’re going to have to do better. America doesn’t need any more ignorance than it has.

      • Armis March 4, 2021 at 10:30 am

        Those organizations are riddled with political biases by liberal pundits. The AMA used to be honest. It’s now full of lunatic liberals who live they publish or perish lifestyle of research science.

        In short, they are invalid sources today. No taxes should be used to mutilate or pay for hormone blocking or replacing potions.

        Stop hustling the VA. So dishonorable.

        • Klaire Keller March 4, 2021 at 5:27 pm

          Clearly, you are driven much harder by conspiracy theories than actual evidence. It pains me to attempt to understand how your level of ignorance and self inflicted failure leads to your posting comments on topics you, by your own words, know nothing about and likely has never impacted you. Speaking of dishonorable, try looking in the mirror.

  7. Mary Olsen February 27, 2021 at 12:41 am

    I remember when I joined the USMC during the Viet Nam “war”. I was told I’d get medical, nothing about only medical for problems during COMBAT. Is this not a legal matter?

    Oh on the “GOD” topic, we were “ALL CREATED EQUAL” we “ALL HAVE OUR CROSSES TO BEAR” should a cripple not get help to walk or do they have to stay as “GOD” created them? Food for thought

    • Armis March 4, 2021 at 10:35 am

      Then use your own money. That’s called charity. Which is Christian…among other faiths. Using OTHER peoples money i.e. TAXES is not charity. It’s theft. You want to fund mutilation or synthetic hormone potions for a trans person, great! Stop creating and supporting legislation that takes money from legitimate service connected disabilities though. Food for thought.

      • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 2:04 pm

        It seems you know so little about this topic that all you can do is attempt to keep repeating the same old tropes that have been discredited for years. Nor do you appear to know the difference between ‘taxes’ and ‘charity’. Our country is having a real problem lately with people who only think they know something rather than actually knowing something. Your stupidity is not a suitable replacement for knowledge. Before you go any further, do us all a favor and learn how to validate legitimate information before posting again. (Of course, we know you won’t because you don’t have the first idea of how to do that and your need for confirmation bias is too great to escape)

  8. Elizabeth H February 26, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    As someone who couldn’t take the direction the VA was going over the last four years and sleep at night, I left and now have a great job in the private sector but it broke my heart to leave the VA. I remember when the trump trans policies were rolled out and trans health was lumped into another dept in order to starve it if funding. I was so upset and powerless. This gives me hope. I am crossing my fingers the new director looks at SAIL reports from the last 4-5 years and looks at trends. Where mortality has gone up so has corruption and bad behavior. He needs a task force to investigate the worst VAs and FIRE BAD MANAGERS to root out the corruption and nepotism that is rotting the VA from the inside out. Our veterans and frankly our VA nurses and workers deserve better.

  9. Rusty February 26, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    People fully understand that the government is creating a victim group out of thin air to justify wasting time and money to study a nonexistent problem. Sexual preferences should be kept private and do not justify special treatment or the need to change pronouns to coddle mentally ill people. Most people know how many genders there are and don’t need the government telling them otherwise. Follow the science.

  10. Leslie flanery February 26, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Just wondering what is being done about gender confirming surgeries. Will the VA start soon

  11. Alyssa Priest February 26, 2021 at 9:12 am

    I have read all the comments in this thread pertaining to transgender people. As a transitioning Veteran with 7 years active duty and now 9 years Reserves, I have seen many changes some for the good and some for the bad in the Military. Someone mentioned that the VA shouldn’t treat transgender people because of different reasons. Some of these Veterans sacrificed their time and body just like every other service member. I come from a religious family and the battle within me about my gender has caused me pain and suffering I do not wish on anyone. If a “normal” person can get treated for depression or diabetes that is not Military related and the government pays for that treatment than why can’t transgender people get treated for their mental anguish too. I am still fighting the fight for GOD, country, family, and myself regardless of my gender.

  12. Paula February 26, 2021 at 12:08 am

    The first time I was treated at the VA I was on active duty. The military clinic didn’t have radiology, so I was referred to the VA. 3 years after that I was discharged from AD (2000) so they had my AD records. I transitioned from male to female 4 yrs after that. 3 yrs after that I applied for enrollment in the VA medical system. I was accepted in part because I served in the Desert Storm Theater of Operations. I wasn’t asking the VA for any transgender healthcare but they asked me how they could serve me as a veteran with a transgender status. I told them I didn’t need much as I transitioned before enrollment. I’m not a freeloader. They have provided with some hormone prescriptions which I have a copay. The VA here in Albuquerque has treated me since 2008 with total respect and dignity.

  13. Sara February 25, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    The number of people that failed to actually read the article, in order to understand this is about making sure LGBTQ veterans receive the same standard of care and respect as other veterans, is astounding.

    It’s literally right there, telling you what they’re doing, and half of you are talking about surgery or making up other ridiculous idioms about what you think heath care should be. If you were qualified to do so in the first place, this isn’t where you’d be talking about it.

    Unless you want the minute details of your medical care to be scrutinize by unqualified buffoons’ thinking they know more than actual doctors, then I suggest you just throw a thumbs up that other people are being treated well for their medical needs, as you want for yourself.

    – End of line.

  14. Brooklyn Beelzebub February 25, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    More foot-stomping, MAGA, “Stop the Steal” losers MENstruating all over the comments section. Now, looky here. I’mma put this to ya in the correct Gender that your your Abrahamic God assigned at birth: “HE” LOST.

  15. Melvin Bowen February 25, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    In the Beginning there was God. God made man in his own image. Seeing that man was lonely he took a rib from Adam and made a helpmate for him and called her woman.
    When Noah gathered animals for the ark according to Gods instructions, he gathered two of each kind. One male and one female.
    Anything else is a figment of the imagination in someone’s mind.

    • Gene C February 26, 2021 at 9:04 am

      Thank you Brooklyn for clearing that up, I was completely in a fog.

    • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      Ok, stay on topic. No quoting fiction for the sake of trying to be part of the conversation. If you’re lonely, get a dog. Unless you’re mean, a dog will never know how dumb you are.

  16. Deborah Pierce February 25, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    Okay join the military, Okay trans to what you want BUT don’t ask the VA or the military to pay for nor should treatment be offered by the VA or the military, or the country
    That or this is a personal thing and not because of combat or the training received or the country
    The VA or the military or the country should not offer to pay, this is a personal thing not done by combat or by the military or the country

    The VA should not reduce any program to any VETERAN to fund this new study, but I fell they will try for political reasons

  17. ROY SCHOENHOLTZ February 25, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    Where can i get the shot and when.Rgrs Roy

  18. John Marley February 25, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Time for some friendly fire

  19. Donald Dillman February 25, 2021 at 5:10 pm

    God will have the final say to the humans that wish to change GODs gift. You are born as a specific gender, whether you like it or not, GOD made you and for one to change GOD’s plan is not good. Everyone will have eternal life after this earthly body is gone, but one needs to make their decision on earth on how they wish to spend eternity. Go North or to go South.

  20. Tracy Sunderlage February 25, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    So the new VA Secretary has appointed Ms Kayla M. Williams as Senior Advisor for OPIA. Her position is Performing Delegable Duties. She is to work with the LGBT community that is receiving care at VA facilities to insure they get “Basic dignity of being recognized for they self-identify”.
    I understand she has 96 people in her department to help her with that mission and duties.
    Ok, this is the reason why so many of us “Self-identify as Combat Veterans” who receive 100% of our medical care at the VA or have VACC contracts. I am a combat veteran with 2 years 9 months and 23 days in a combat zone of which 273 days was in actual combat ( fired at the enemy face to face ). I was enlisted for 3yrs, then commissioned for 15yrs of which 10yrs was spent in Elite forces and Special forces. I have just 4 PH but was shot down 3 times, blown up in a bunker, had a military vehicle overturned on me, crushing both legs and had 2 airborne jumps with malfunctions. I have been to 86 countries some countries didn’t know I was there? So the VA has me rated 194% ( using VA math ) disabled and I get Special Monthly Comp. That took 30yrs to get completely done. So now we have Community Care Contracts, of which I wholeheartedly approve, but the contracts are only good for 180 days and the provider can’t extend them without your VA PC making a new request every 180 days. Why? It’s stupid! Then there’s the new Travel Reimbursement System that’s online that doesn’t work? Why?……… So now the VA is going to spend time, money, and manpower on Self-identity issues not caused by Combat? I Self-identify as 100% combat disabled with ED!
    Would Ms Kayla M. Williams please help me first, I am a priority #1 Vet, assuming she knows what that means.
    Major T. L. Sunderlage US Army SF Ret.

  21. Mike February 25, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    Transgenderism is a mockery of God! Stop wasting taxpayer dollars and clogging up VA bandwidth with this trash.

    • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 10:43 pm

      Believing in make believe things I’d a mockery of all mankind! Stop wasting readers time clogging up their intelligence with your trash.

  22. Patricia Sweeton February 25, 2021 at 12:00 pm

    My concern is supporting surgery for the trans person. I don’t agree with it. Nor hormones. Care after surgery is fine. Psychological care is fine. We all need that. During active duty they should be in gender they are born with. If already transitioned then he/she are now.

    • Edward A Blumberg February 25, 2021 at 1:34 pm

      I agree, but also to add, if your enlistment paperwork and/or your DD-214 list you as MALE, you get treated as a MALE. Likewise for females. Based on that fact ALONE, will determine if you are PRESENTLY ELIGIBLE for ANY VA BENEFITS. Stop this insanity people, there are millions of veterans out there that REALLY NEED HELP. Stop cowtowing to everyone who feels that they are “special” and deserve more!

    • Michelle E February 26, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      That’s the beauty of all this Patricia and Edward. You don’t have to agree with anything, any more than I have to agree with anything of yours. Say you have cancer, and I said that I didn’t agree with you getting treatment for that. My opinion doesn’t matter. And your ignorance of science is your your problem to either deal with or not. Luckily the VA is way ahead of you on that score.

  23. Patricia Sweeton February 25, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I do not thing trans should be able to have VA support for surgery. How would they get their hormones while in war zones? I have no problem with Trans community. Only what I have stated above. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth H February 26, 2021 at 10:13 pm

      They perform eye lifts that are cosmetic all the time. I worked there. These are done on men. I also took care of a few chubby men getting their man boobs removed. They didn’t get those in the military. It was 100 per cent cosmetic. Don’t give me that crapola

  24. Norb February 25, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Is it time to convert to the Muslim religion ?

    [Editor: The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that everyone in the United States has the right to practice his or her own religion. And the freedom from practicing one, too.]

    • Darrell Kroll February 25, 2021 at 10:09 pm

      If you want to convert its your choice but don’t try to try to push that crap down our thoughts .

      • Michelle E February 26, 2021 at 4:47 pm

        No one is pushing anything down any orifice you might designate Darrell. Are you a doctor at the VA being asked to treat trans people? If not, then I would have to guess that this would have zero effect on you in any way.

        • Armis March 4, 2021 at 10:39 am

          Yes…yes they are. Everyday. In tv film music politics religion…they are pushing this mental illness on everyone. It’s disgusting and dishonorable. Sinister even.

  25. Blair C February 25, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Does this mean that male MST survivors will no longer be required to be seen in the women’s clinic if they identify as male and prefer to be seen in the main clinic?

  26. David F. Pinder February 25, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Pure bs! If you’re born male, that’s what you are. Wishing isn’t getting. I see a lot of ‘newspeak’ going on these days. Get back into reality folks!

  27. Gene C February 25, 2021 at 9:33 am

    The last administration made great strides in the military structure for active, reserve and retired personnel. Along with that he made sweeping changes that the VA hospitals and outpatient facilities must follow and can be seen and felt when seeking care. Not all places are perfect but what I see is respect and compassion for all who enter at our outpatient center in NE Ohio. Serving in the Army from 67 -70 I have seen many changes and believe anyone who wishes to and is capable of serving should have the opportunity to do so under the gender they were born with and not enlist for service with the intention to alter their gender. It isn’t up to the tax paying citizens of this country to foot the bill for such operations. It should be that simple but like everything thing else, some just feel the need to complicate issues.

    • Brandon Brewer February 25, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Right on brother!

      • JG February 25, 2021 at 10:49 am

        Exactly! Many of us struggled just to get good gear.

      • STAN FUCHS February 25, 2021 at 11:51 am

        Well said Gene C.

  28. Roberta Porter February 25, 2021 at 9:25 am

    You’ve hit upon the route of all predijuce! You’re absolutely correct. As long as what you’re doing is not affecting anyone else; it’s absolutely “NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS” I’m a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran with all kinds of health issues related to my service in Vietnam. In addition, I’m a MtF. I’m lucky because of my successful transition, without surgery to living as a woman with few people questioning my sex. I’m one of the lucky trans people. The VA program to help out transgenders is totally separate from all other programs and the information everyone is getting in the VA emails. It’s up to each veteran to sort through all the messages that the VA sends. Read it if you want, don’t read if you don’t. My message to ALL veterans. Don’t be predidice because you’re daddy was. Think for youself. I never got into your business about who you could be or marry, so be a man and mind your own business like I any many other LBGTQ and non LBGTQ veterans do. God is the only one who has the right to judge anybody!

    • Armis March 4, 2021 at 10:43 am

      You are obviously prejudice. This is a mental illness and it should be treated as such. Not a new way to hustle money from the government.

  29. Ro Gal February 25, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Oh STOP IT! You’re making too much sense for a bureaucratic bloated agency to understand in one paragraph!

    • Brandon Brewer February 25, 2021 at 10:05 am

      Apparently God can’t judge or do anything else right,because according to you he( God) can’t even choose the right
      Sex/ gender. So now I have to pay for your confusion.

  30. Albert Guerrero February 25, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Big kudos to this new era of VA leadership, and their push for progress! Heartened to see all veterans who served this country have unfettered access to health care, benefits, and community they earned without fear of discrimination.

    Well done!

  31. Ro Gal February 25, 2021 at 9:10 am

    I believe the VA should start with a comprehensive psychological exam of those who individuals who experience gender dysphoria. I think we can all agree that having the mindset of the opposite sex while occupying the body of the other is a problem. It needs to be sure the individual is not affected by some other condition causing the dysphoria. Of course this will likely not happen since facts get in the way of emotions for those who have re-written the DSM manual to change it’s original findings about this subject.

    • Rusty February 25, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      I agree with you 100%. Psychological analysis should be the 1st step in rendering aid to an anatomy denier. It is not done because giving aid is not the goal. The goal is to FORCE affirmation through fear of losing one’s livelihood for noncompliance. All current military and VA personnel WILL comply, WILL kiss the ring, or else. It’s a sign of the times, free speech and debate are under attack, God help America.

      • Jack Dalbey March 10, 2021 at 8:38 pm

        I encourage you both to read the WPATH standards of care. 6 months to a year of therapy are REQUIRED before seeking hormone replacement therapy and two different psychologists must write letters of approval for any surgical intervention. Psychological analysis IS the first of many steps. https://www.wpath.org/publications/soc

  32. Nashoba February 25, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Straight bullsht that yall cater to these fcks

  33. Douglas R Satterfield February 25, 2021 at 8:10 am

    Kayla Williams (performing the Delegable Duties of the Assistant Secretary, OPIA – whatever that means). Williams is just another SJW that believes she is morally superior to us Veterans. I believe the VA has again screwed up their priorities.

    [Editor: Kayla is an OIF Veteran of the 101st Airborne. You can read more about her service, here: https://www.va.gov/opa/bios/bio_Williams.asp ]

    • Doug Smith February 25, 2021 at 9:42 am

      Editor, I don’t think any of us believe being a Vet is the end-all to one’s ability to work at the VA. Thus you missed the point of this comment. I would direct you to the new VA Secretary who is NOT a Veteran (we aren’t complaining about that). It is just that we want the VA’s priorities to be good for us all and not prioritize one group (like the LGBT community) over another. If the VA wants priorities, then explain why the VA has forced some Vets to pay for the COVID vaccine! Or, why over 250,000 Vets have been denied the vaccine. These are what needs to be addressed, not social experimentation with our Vets!

      [Editor: Thanks for the comment, Doug. It’s difficult for those who see select individual blog posts to see the larger picture that I see (literally, every single blog post), so I just dug up an archive of tag “COVID” on this blog. Here’s 40 pages of blog posts, one post every few days, on VA’s efforts to protect Veterans: https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/?s=covid . You can also search “vaccine” or “vaccination” or “coronavirus” on the main page at blogs.va.gov. Within each of those posts are links to VA’s published info on what VA has, where VA has it, when VA can administer it, and how to get in line/how VA will contact you.]

      • Rev. Michael Cain February 25, 2021 at 4:21 pm

        Editor, you have missed the original point and now, in addition, not answered the questions posed. It would be very helpful if you did. Our concern here is that the new Pres Biden administration will change VA priorities to focus heavily on race, sexual orientation, gender, and perceived victimhood status. And, consequently drop more important concerns.

        [Editor: Thank you for your comment, Michael. As stated in this post, VA’s priority is to ensure that we’ll take care of ALL who have borne the battle. Thus, you can be assured that VA will no longer ignore some who have borne the battle, such that they’ll now get the same level of care as everyone else.]

      • Yusaf from Texas February 25, 2021 at 4:24 pm

        Well said.

  34. Crissy Crisson February 25, 2021 at 7:13 am

    This great. When I go to appointments 99% of the my VA personnel respect me and ask what pronouns I would like to be referred by. I just can’t wait for more services to be offered.
    V/r,
    Crissy Crisson
    USN/Retired

  35. michael salazar February 25, 2021 at 5:12 am

    God knows what gender you were born with. Ask Him if you question your identity.

  36. David Fenwick February 25, 2021 at 3:03 am

    I am a 77 year old Vietnam Vet who is a Diabetic. I have signed up for the Covid Vaccine with my state, the VA, my county, various hospitals and drug stores, and am STILL waiting for my first shot. I am NOT impressed with NJ’s handling of the Vaccine. I see people in theri 40s, 50s, etc. smokers, and so on getting the Vaccine and I can’t get my first shot!!!

  37. Dennis Heape February 25, 2021 at 3:02 am

    What the hell does so-called transgender have to do with getting the covid 19 vaccination? The VA defied all logic and put the age a 75 to receive the vaccine which is contrary to the “Science” and now you think someone who says they are what there are not sexually should receive it before anyone else or have special treatment get out of the business if that is so.

  38. Ferdinand Datuin February 25, 2021 at 2:55 am

    There’s too many “projects” VA has. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of kinks in their system. One of them is the so called the very long waiting period to be seen by their doctors. Another one is their BTSS , a reimbursement mileage program that NEVER WORKS.

  39. Katherine Rubie February 25, 2021 at 12:55 am

    As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I am very happy to see the VA taking steps in the right direction of acknowledging the need for better care and respect for Veterans who are trans and by moving towards a better and more comprehensive plan of care. Thank you!

  40. Tiffany Martschink February 24, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    I’d like to connect updates like this on my website for veterans. Is there an embed code I can use for this?

  41. Michael Leddy February 24, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    The military is not a social experiment. Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. As far as transgender Healthcare. They joined the military based on the gender that God gave them and if they chose to take part in procedures that alter their genders than all Healthcare that is associated with complications and maintenance because of those procedures is not the responsibility of the American tax payers!! I expect that now the American taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for surgical procedures such as gender reassignment.
    We should not be paying for procedures that alter a veterans gender!! That is cosmetic as far as I’m concerned and not necessary. This is ridiculous that now once again the democrats are forcing the American taxpayers to pay for things that should not be the responsibility of us and only the responsibility of those who choose to do those things to themselves.

    • JG February 25, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Nobody will want to use the bathroom anymore at the VA .

  42. Larry Nazimek February 24, 2021 at 9:18 pm

    I clicked on the link for Team Up Against COVID-19 with Dr. Anthony Fauci, but instead, I keep getting this page about transgenders.

    • Sharon Sigala February 25, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      Same here! I feel sabotaged.

  43. Nice Guy February 24, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Absolutely disgusting. I f you haven’t served in combat you are not qualified to review this.

  44. Keith Stangel February 24, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Site says it will direct us to how to get a Covid Vaccine- IT DOESN’T.

  45. Jack M. Dalbey February 24, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    I am a female to male transgender Marine veteran. I have been unable to receive surgical treatment for my transition through the VA or through tricare. Because I receive 100% disability through the VA, I make too much money to qualify for WA state apple health, Medicaid. They offer transition surgeries to all transgender patients, but our two most used post military health insurance doesn’t. I had a brief opportunity to receive surgery while in service in 2016, but because I was already pending medical retirement, I was not allowed to receive “elective” surgery.
    I even tried to get mastectomy surgery through the VA because of my back pain, but they stated my breasts were of a “normal and post reduction size” and that I didn’t qualify as a man for gynecomastia because I wasn’t “born as a man”. If I am having this much difficulty getting appropriate care as a male presenting veteran, I can’t imagine how much more difficult it has been for our male to female transgender veterans. Thank you for reviewing your policies, but please consider surgical intervention and other WPATH standards of care in addition to the minimum of addressing a veteran by their name and pronouns.

    • Charlie Hunt February 25, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      Sex change elective surgery should never be a part of VA. There has been tens of thousands of Veterans who were purposely hidden from medical treatment that was life threating and they died. So freaking pathetic trying to put plastic surgery in the VA Med.

      • Jack M. Dalbey February 27, 2021 at 5:45 pm

        Health insurance is health insurance. If this is the only health insurance a person has, it should still include the federally mandated health care that private insurance must provide. I encourage you to read the WPATH standards of care. Surgical intervention for transgender patients is not “elective” and is not “plastic”, it is alleviating gender dysphoria, which can be so debilitating that it causes transgender people in severe distress to self harm or commit suicide. These surgeries help save lives from both mental health distress and help to alleviate the pressures of presenting in a mixed state of gender non-conformity, which can confuse and anger cis-gender people who then have denied services, assaulted, harassed, and killed transgender people. For example, I have a beard, a deep voice, my name matches my “male” persona. But, I have female sex organs and breast tissue. I use male restrooms, because it is legal here and that’s how I present myself, but it can be uncomfortable for women to see me in spaces for survivors of sexual assault, women’s sexual health, and mammography waiting rooms. Likewise, if facial feminization surgery is denied to male to female transgender people, they are unsafe in both types of spaces. Because men are uncomfortable around someone they perceive as male wearing a dress, and so are females. That non-binary (neither fully male or female) presentation can open up transgender people for multiple forms of harassment and assault. Any private health insurance that wanted federal funding had to allow for transgender surgeries and supportive care, but somehow tricare and the VA, which are federal healthcare, don’t have to follow the same rules?! So now I need to buy a third health insurance just to cover surgery? It’s incredibly frustrating to find out which services are provided, how much each deductible or cap would cover, which providers are in the state, in network, have experience in doing the surgeries, and are open to new customers. Everyone I know goes through medicaid locally because no one else can afford insurance. The rest that don’t qualify, end up doing gofund me drives because the surgeons nearby, don’t accept their insurance.
        So, please, explain to me again how this are “cosmetic elective surgeries” and shouldn’t be covered.

      • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 11:20 pm

        Hi Jack, I’m MtF being served by a great VA hospital in a different state. There seems to be such a disparity in the priorities of the medical centers from place to place. I too, am a tier/group 1 veteran and military retiree who also accesses tricare for myself and my spouse. I was, fortunate enough to fund some of my surgical care myself as I was not confident that this review was going to happen although my VA endocrinologist and PCP would certainly have recommended surgery if policy would have allowed. It is nearly criminal that the majority of insurer’s would cover your medically necessary transition treatment but tricare and the VA have been dragging their feet this long. I’m wishing you well on your journey and as you well know, the science and appropriate organizations are on our side.

    • The Truth February 28, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      You have been hustling the VA for years it seems.

      • Jack Dalbey March 10, 2021 at 9:24 pm

        There’s no “hustle”. A cis-gender woman with back pain would be offered a breast reduction. Covered by the VA. A cis-gender man with excessive breast tissue (gynecomastia) would be offered a mastectomy/breast reduction, covered by the VA. I have 100% VA disability because of my service connected injuries. They have nothing to do with being transgender, but as someone who served over 8 years and rated 100% I am fully covered by the VA for pre-existing conditions as well. And I pay for my Tricare Retired, because I’m 30% DoD disabled and medically retired. I have Multilevel Disc Degeneration in my neck and back, and my Sacroiliac Joints are messed up. I don’t care about what my genitals look like, because no one will ever see them except a doctor. But my chest is not only an eyesore, but a physical pain in my back and neck. I knew folks on active duty who were cis-gender women who received breast augmentation because they wanted a bigger chest. I’m not saying we should be outraged at cis-women who received a surgery, I’m saying there’s an imbalance of equality. If we can say- “this cis person wants/needs a smaller/bigger chest, let’s cover it”, why would we refuse it to a trans person just because they’re trans? If a cis-gendered person had a traumatic injury to their genitals, the VA and AD medical will reconstruct the genitalia, even if urinary and sexual function are impossible to restore. Why? Because society will not accept a person with atypical genitalia. There are still states where if you don’t disclose you are trans before engaging in a sexual relationship, that the other person can legally murder you for not disclosing what your genitals looked like. It’s called the “gay panic defense”.

    • Margaret P. Clarke March 5, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      The VA is not for routine healthy care for anyone who served its for SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES RECEIVED IN THE LINE OF COMBAT or TRAINING FOR COMBAT. Have things changed now anyone can get anything without any association or rating whatsoever?

      • Jack Dalbey March 10, 2021 at 9:40 pm

        I’m 100% VA and 30% DoD disabled- neither of which had anything to do with my gender identity. Not sure when you served or last read the website, but here is a link to the eligibility requirements page:
        https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/

  46. Melanie Clark February 24, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    i don’t understand this issue. if we just treat everyone with respect, those who classify themselves in special categories wouldn’t need special protections. All my life, gender has been the same as sexual identity. Now, suddenly, it isn’t.
    Truly, I am not interested in anyone’s sexual orientation or identity. It isn’t any of my business.
    The only thing I hope is that any special treatments or surgeries are paid for by the veteran.

  47. Jester Roman February 24, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    I am happy during my time of service only women and men were allowed to our country. God created only genders in the Bible and no where does it states any other gender.. in combat I would feel uneasted having one next to me in a fox hole.

  48. Tjiok February 24, 2021 at 7:50 pm

    How can one Trans his/her gender?

  49. Barton E Jones February 24, 2021 at 7:36 pm

    So, the VA is now going to stop treating Gender Disphoria as a Mental Illness and feed the delusions of veterans who have lost their grip on reality. Are we really going to waste resources on this? Are doctors going to be playing make-believe with their patients? Stop this stupidity… Please!!

    • Suzann Joyce Melton February 25, 2021 at 9:21 am

      I agree with you 100%

    • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 11:27 pm

      Unfortunately for your comment, the VA, the military, and the medical community at large haven’t considered gender dysphoria a ‘mental’ issue for 15 years and the medical and psychiatric world hasn’t considered it as such for over 30 years. Honey, you’ve got to start trying to keep up.

  50. Ronni Salpino February 24, 2021 at 7:30 pm

    So glad the VA might start gender affirming services!!

    It will also be nice to be treated like a human again by my government.

  51. ML February 24, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Glad that the VA is working to serve the transgender community! I think it’s important to help populations who have historically been discriminated against while at the same time ensuring that quality for all is not degraded.

  52. David Paul Ramsay February 24, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    It’s really a quite simple process treating veterans. If you were born a male, you get treated as a male. If you were born female, you get treated as a female. Believe it or not, it really is just that simple. If the veteran wants to make things complicated, then that is on them, not the doctors and nurses treating them. There is no need to continuously shove an alternate lifestyle down the throats of those that care for veterans, and there is no need to “train” them on how to deal with patients. Use common sense (I know that is hard to come by these days), and there really isn’t a problem treating veterans at all. The sooner that veterans realize that reality, the sooner the VA can get on with the business of treating veterans. If the veteran is not pleased with the way they are treated, then go elsewhere and get treated by another doctor. Quit shoving an “alternative lifestyle” down our throats and act like a human being and stop thinking that you should be treated any different because you choose to live another lifestyle.

    • Suzann Joyce Melton February 25, 2021 at 9:23 am

      Amen!

    • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 11:29 pm

      Your comment makes it crystal clear as to why you’re not a medical professional of any sort.

  53. David G February 24, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Wtf?
    We must be physically and mentally strong at all times.
    Distractions and personal issues effect morale.
    Derp derp…
    Make America weak tour part 2?

    • SJM February 25, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Absolutely true!

  54. Margaret P. Clarke February 24, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Veteran have to be able to afford Internet Service in order to be able to Tele-Health
    https://www.va.gov/healthequity/

    If the annual Cost of Living raise is 4% and the Veterans get 2.1 the inevitable reduction is all services and participations will be reduced then multiple that by years of constant degradation and decline in approval for basic support services like clothing allowance for people who wear braces or years of waiting lines for dental care and mental health appointments or the complete breakdown of respect for their ability for self protection by taking their right to firearms. So, then how about the single veteran who cannot get a colonoscopy because they do not have a driver that will escort them from the procedures. Recall the veterans that are committing suicide are of the age where military polices and attitudes did not support spouses and children. Because “If the Army wanted you to have a spouse they would have issued you one” so after all your financially pseudo events the veteran still has no one to go home too if they can afford a home in the Low income areas which do NOT support persons with mobility issues. The number 1 cause of suicide stated is loneliness and does it really get better after the holidays I say and data says NO. Then to use the “Anchors of Hope” BS is copy right infringement, misapplication of ideals, basic plagiarism, forced religious propaganda as well as government supported non profit business ethical violations.

    How about we set up a video conference were we discuss the details of your Suicide report or maybe you might be too busy setting up your next office for Veteran Extremist Office because all those veterans are people too unless you want to name is White Male Veteran Extremist Office but that would not be correct. So did they become extremist in the military or before and what about the ones who joined at age 18? Served in Afghanistan, Iraq well you are starting to get the picture and why haven’t they gotten care when no one speaks the basic military language or mental health says they are delusional because the “doctor aka nurse practitioner they were checked out on Google!

    Oh wait I have been going on and on and I should be expecting my positivity and gratitude phone call so my pain stops. But I am sure the fedex guy will make sure my aspirin has a tracking number and yet they left the pain medication at the non existence garage side door… AGAIN.

    At least with all these posts I am getting a math refresher.

    https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/docs/data-sheets/2020/2020-National-Veteran-Suicide-Prevention-Annual-Report-11-2020-508.pdf

  55. Margaret P. Clarke February 24, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    Gosh you mean real pain cannot just be talked out using a phone call with positive BS language. And geech it doesn’t matter what someone race is they also didn’t respond to a phone call that tells them they should be grateful. All the real pain did not miraculous did not just disappear. Come VA how about real science. Real conversations about facts and not pseudo science. Do you really want to know about Suicide or just building another financial stream using the new alphabet people. Have you appointed a director to hold accountable so you can fire them when the numbers are not getting better? How about starting with someone actually reading the report and fixing the disparities before you publish it. what you mean the Governors Program or is that the Mayor Program. Goodness, wasn’t this topic already covered with viable options years ago that turned into the Projects. Meanwhile Veterans though participating in all these funded events like crocheting, bee hives BS they still have to go home alone or have a doctor who does not speak their language.

    Now I know that all the doctors and attorneys in DC need to validate their education costs but how about once in a while real facts coming from real science, at least before I am dead! Oh wait there is no more room at Arlington, and yet I had the answer for that too.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6324470/
    The intervention comprised a 6-week series of evidence-based activities to build positive psychological skills (eg, gratitude and kindness). The control program comprised similarly structured neutral activities. Programs were delivered via workbook and weekly telephone calls with interventionists.

  56. Margaret P. Clarke February 24, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    You cannot say that this research is a CAUSE when it is supported as a factor of awareness because they report more issues could be a character trait of the LBGT people. If we have a gay woman who works harder and sustains more injuries than a straight woman then reports the injuries the injuries are not falsified because they are reported they are not being discriminated against because they are reported. The question should be “What is the cause” not assuming discriminations in reporting after the fact. You are discussing traits of groups of people.

    So now if we say those groups who have more injuries who have worked harder to prove themselves because of their LBGT Status now have taken more medications for their sustained injuries are really “drug addicts” and now labeled them as such so lets STOP their medications because its just drug seeking behavior now you HAVE DISCRIMINATED against the original traits of the person.

    Come at least read the books on how to do actual research or Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics. This is like saying the gas you put in your car is the reason we have LGBT people. …. Exactly.

  57. Nope February 24, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    yay. more “special”, “preferred”, & “protected”. unbelievable.

  58. Margaret P. Clarke February 24, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    This is NOT research: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23947310/. You cannot do a meta analysis of the VA Records and state that veterans are 20 times higher than the population when you do not have records or surveys of the whole population. Nor can you state 20 times higher when a complete assessment of the whole VA population has not been completed. What is the factor that identified that population for review. What characteristics caused those Veterans to COME OUT to their care provider and what about those that have not?. Its like saying masks will save you from covid even though we don’t know how it spreads; that is not science nor valid research. If anything you are creating questions such as DOES military service cause or does the mandatory military vaccinations or life style CAUSE transgenderism? What else could be that would support such high numbers. So how about actual SCIENCE? How about a 100% valid survey of the population NOW. Are you now or have you ever had Transgendered thoughts. AT what age did it start? What are VALID transgendered thoughts since GENDER is a social construct. Come on VA!!!

    You are giving more attention to this than the people suffering with pain. You have taken scientifically proven medical care away to have them crochet doing NOTHING for the PAIN except develop it into anger and hate. AGAIN NOT SCIENCE.

    • Kristin Darken February 25, 2021 at 11:14 am

      “What else could be that would support such high numbers?”

      Easy enough to answer. Boys who identify as girls have decades if not centuries of having ‘proper male attitudes’ beat into them by brothers, classmates, and fathers. They look at the hatred spewed every time someone speaks the word transgender and decide to suffer in silence instead of being out, open, expressing who they really are. They adopt a mask. Create a macho identity and take up interests and jobs that are traditionally masculine to hide their true feelings and identity.

      So the military has a higher than usual percentage of transgender individuals? Why wouldn’t it? Military service is an ideal mask if you’re trying to hide identity concerns. The military is also one of the few places where you can do your job and be judged primarily on your merit and not your identity (or sexual orientation). Military service is also a tried and true means for the young to break out of the socioeconomic situation of their childhood. Escape from abusive family, escape from barely survivable poverty, escape from narrow minded or stagnant communities…

      So you ask for reasons? I have to wonder if you’ve really paid any attention to the people you served with. There are a LOT of good reasons to serve, and transgender individuals are affected by a number of them… and there are far more people who you served with who are TG than you are likely to realize. They just didn’t tell you because… well… your attitude sucks. :P

      • Margaret P. Clarke March 5, 2021 at 9:06 pm

        You have such hate and judgement. Did you read the studies, SCIENCE is not “What else could it be”. RECOMMEND you take a BIOLOGY 101 course which will teach you the basics of the SCIENTIFIC PROCESS.

        Based on your comments perhaps you are not aware that the VA service works on a rating system based on SERVICE CONNECTED INJURIES not injuries or social impact from your “brothers, classmates and fathers” but from MILITARY CONNECTED SERVICE INJURIES.

      • Lexa Baldwin March 7, 2021 at 2:24 pm

        @Kristin, Yes,100%! I’m a trans vet and I completely relate to what you were describing with a “mask of masculinity”. I joined to prove that I could be masculine. I always felt feminine but knew that I had to put up a guise to show the world how much of a ‘real man’ I could be just because I was scared of what would happen if the world found out who I was.
        Those fears weren’t baseless, either. I came out after I had left military service (I was medically discharged after suffering a permanent disability) as a trans woman, and most of those fears came true. I lost my house, my business, marriage, hell I even lost my dog; but by far the most painful thing I lost were my brothers: several of my fellow Marines and I decided that when we got out we would all move to the same city and stay close… well, when I came out they all turned their backs on me. We’d take a bullet for each other, but finding out I was trans was apparently their line.
        So many of the comments on this article show the same level of ignorance and disregard of humanity that my former brothers showed.
        Just like you said in the end: many of us don’t show that we’re trans because we know how we’ll be treated when the world finds out. We’re everywhere, but most of us chose to stay hidden. This is why the VA must change. In a way we fight our own war that never ends each and every day. We need all the help we can get.

    • Klaire Keller March 5, 2021 at 11:37 pm

      So, I’m guessing you failed Statistics in high school and/or college. Or, perhaps you failed Research Methods in grad school. Or, you never made it to any of that! The answer is likely one or more of those.

Comments are closed.