Veterans Affairs Opens First Transgender Clinic in Cleveland

A celebratory crowd at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center observed Veterans Day yesterday with the official opening of a clinic dedicated to transgender service members. 

From the start, the clinic will be directly treating 20 veterans on a monthly basis. (There are an estimated 15,000 transgender personnel currently serving on active duty.) 

At the beginning of one's transition, patients must complete a specified amount of counseling. Hormones are prescribed, and then patients must live outwardly as their desired gender for six months to a year before legally changing their name or gender.  

As those patients undergo hormone therapy, their medical needs and risks change. Dr. Megan McNamara, who's been working with transgender patients for two years, is directing the clinic. 

In a December 2013 feature, Scene described an assault against two transgender women who ended up seeking treatment at the VA center. (One of the women was a veteran; she told Scene that the VA had been excellent in providing care over the years.)