Gender-Confirmation Surgery at VA

On Jan. 25, 2024, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeking a court order that VA act on TAVA’s 2016 rulemaking petition for gender-affirming surgery. For so many of the over 163,000 transgender veterans, gender-confirmation surgery is essential and often lifesaving medical care. Despite repeatedly stating his commitment to fulfilling TAVA’s request, Secretary McDonough has not formally responded to the rulemaking petition.

The lawsuit alleges that the nearly eight-year delay in VA responding to the rulemaking petition violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires that agencies decide matters presented to them within a reasonable time. Filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the lawsuit follows a demand letter TAVA sent VA on Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, 2023. TAVA warned VA then that if it did not grant or deny TAVA’s petition within 30 days, TAVA would file suit. The clinic is counsel for TAVA.


Read the letter sent to the VA.

Read TAVA’s 2016 petition for rulemaking.

Read the mandamus petition with appendix (Jan. 25, 2024)


Press and Media

"Trans veterans were promised access to gender-affirming surgeries — but it never happened" The 19th, Jan. 25, 2024

Transgender Veterans Sue to Have Gender-Affirming Surgery Covered by Department of Veteran AffairsTime (AP), Jan. 25, 2024

"'Illegal and So Awful': Yale Law Students Turn to Court Over Transgender Policy" Law.com, Jan. 26, 2024

"Transgender veterans sue the VA for gender-affirming surgery" NBC News, Jan. 25, 2024