(Center for American Progress) -- In the year since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Pentagon has worked to ensure gay service members are treated with respect and given equal access to benefits to the greatest extent possible, taking into account the continued restrictions imposed by the Defense of Marriage Act. Despite this historic progress for active service members, however, the repeal of the Clinton-era policy has not ensured equal treatment for all who have served in the military. Gay and transgender veterans continue to feel the effects of discriminatory policies and programs that fail to meet their health needs.
This failure needs to be corrected since veterans experience poorer health outcomes than the general population, and these disparities are likely compounded by being gay or transgender. Even more problematic, the health programs established to serve veterans are governed by policies that do not treat gay and transgender patients equally, much less address the pressing unique health needs that affect their daily lives.