WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth has introduced a bill that would address gaps in the healthcare that LGBTQ veterans receive.
The Military Times reported on Tuesday that the bill would address higher rates of intimate partner violence and mental illness compared to non-LGBTQ service members.
The bill was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate on June 27. It was introduced in the house by by Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H.
“We owe all veterans who have defended our nation access to the health care and benefits we promised, and they have rightfully earned — regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation,” Duckworth told the newspaper.
From the Military Times:
The LGBT VA Advocacy Inclusion Act would authorize the VA’s Center for Minority Veterans to address “gaps in care” that currently do not target LGBTQ service members who experience depression, certain cancers and suicidal ideation, Duckworth said. The CMV was established in 1994 during “don’t ask, don’t tell.” DADT prevented discrimination against closeted LGBTQ service members, but prohibited LGBTQ service members from discussing their sexualities. The CMV’s authority then served racial and ethnic minority groups, such as Asian American, black, Latinx, Native American or Pacific-Islander American veterans.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has not taken a position at this time on the proposed bill, the department stated in an email. The email statement included VA LGBTQ services and outreach efforts, including VA’s commitment to the phrase, “we serve all who served,” and information about how all of the medical centers have an LGBT Program webpage with contact information, as well as policies and health care services.