Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC is committed to providing top quality care to all Veterans including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Veterans.
We recognize that diverse populations have distinctive needs, and are training our staff in culturally and clinically-competent care for LGBT Veterans. We are focused on providing the most respectful health care environment possible.
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC embraces the national policies that guarantee access for LGBT Veterans in the northeast Ohio area. These policies (and more) are available to download from this website. We encourage LGBT Veterans and families to be aware of these rights as you seek care in the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC.
Below are relevant policies and services:
Our Patient Non-Discrimination Policy has specific language that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (actual and perceived).
Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC Visitation Policy allows for a same-sex partner, family member, friend, or other individual to be present with the patient for emotional support during the course of their stay. Same-sex partners are recognized as the patient’s family, even if the partners are not legally married.
Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC Definition of “Family”
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC adopts the definition of “family” put forth by the Human Rights Campaign’s National Healthcare Equality Index. “Family” refers to any person(s) who plays a significant role in an individual’s life. This may include individual(s) not legally related to the individual. Members of “family” include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others.
Patients may designate any person as a decision-maker for care should you become unable to make these decisions yourself. This includes designating a same-sex partner as a surrogate decision maker. Advanced Directive agents are chosen by the Veteran and do not need to be biologically related. Please inform staff if you desire to create an Advance Directive.
Documentation in Medical Records
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC maintains the confidentiality of information about sexual orientation and sexual behavior, as it does with all other private health information. We encourage you to inform your Healthcare provider of your sexual orientation/gender identity so appropriate care can be provided.
Changing Your Name and/or Sex in Your Medical Record
Your name in the medical record will reflect your legal name. The sex in your medical record should reflect your self-identified gender. You have the right to request that name and sex are updated as appropriate. There are established procedures for changing your name and sex with the VA Privacy Officer. If you would like a copy of the fact sheet on how to change your name and/or sex in CPRS, please let your health care provider know so they can obtain a copy for you.
Concerns and/or Complaints
If you feel you are not being provided with compassionate care at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC, we encourage you to make your concerns known to your Provider and/or a Patient Advocate. If you would like a copy of the Memo on processing EEO complaints based on Sexual Orientation, please inform a Patient Advocate who can a copy for you.
If you have any questions or concerns that are not about a specific Service Line, please contact Stacy Kenney, LGBT Special Emphasis Program Manager 216-791-3800 ext. 3408 or contact one of our Patient Advocates at (216) 791-3800 Ext. 1700.
Veteran’s Pride Support Group
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VAMC’s LGBT Support Group, Veteran’s Pride, meets every Tuesday from 3:30pm-4:30pm in the Rockefeller Room located on the first floor in the CARES Tower at the Wade Park Campus.
The Veteran’s Pride Support Group offers a safe place for any veteran who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, in the process of coming out, questioning their sexual orientation, cross-dressers, or gender questioning. Wherever you may be on the spectrum, you are welcome here.
What you will find here is a confidential, safe place where you can be yourself. The group provides an opportunity for veterans to share their issues and concerns with others in a safe, supportive environment. For so long you have been told “don’t ask, don’t tell.” This is a place where you are encouraged to ask questions and tell your story and find support and community in doing so.
For any questions or further information call Stacy Kenney at (216) 791-3800 ext. 3408.
Helpful Links for LGBT Veterans
LGBT Veteran Resources*
- American Veterans for Equal Rights
- Outserve / Service Members Legal Defense Network
- TransFamily Cleveland
National Resources for Transgender Veterans*
- Changing your name and gender in Medical Records Kits
- VA National Policy on Transgender Care
- International Foundation for Gender Education
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Traveler Information for Transgender Travelers from the TSA
- Ten Things Transgender Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Care Provider
LGBT Health Resources*
- CDC LGBT Health Page
- The National Lesbian Health Organization
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Gay & Bisexual Men
- American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts for Lesbian & Bisexual Women
- 10 Things Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals and Transgener Persons Should discuss with Their Healthcare Provider