Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Transgender Awareness Month
During November’s Transgender Awareness Month, the LGBT community sets aside the 20th as the Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day that honors the memory of transgender people lost to disproportionately frequent and egregious acts of targeted violence. As a part of this awareness and remembrance, Nursing Services at the Cincinnati VA asked RN, Devon Wavra to share her experiences as a transgender nurse and veteran at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.
“My experience has been amazing – if not perfect. Most people have been affirming, used my name and pronouns correctly, treating me like any other nurse on the floor. For that, I thank you. Whether you know it or not, there are a lot of us here – in nursing, wage staff, clinical staff, and other areas. We work beside you, every day, to support the mission of the VA. We eat with you, celebrate with you, mourn with you, and live in service to greater causes – just like you. You may not always see us, but we are always here,” shared Wavra.
So, what can we do to make sure that we do not contribute to the suffering of these Veterans? How must our practice change to better affirm and support trans Vets and trans staff? Wavra shared that, “It starts off easier than you might think; use our pronouns, use our names – demonstrate that you understand and agree that we are who we say we are; engage with us – we are your friends, coworkers, and family; support us even when you don’t know if we’re there – integration and empowerment relies on communication, support, and willingness to learn. This is not just so that trans people will begin to feel more welcome here – it is so that those of us who are already here can open the doors to those who wish to be.”
On average, 1.2 out of every 200 American adults are transgender – and that number is much higher for veterans. Nearly 25% of transgender American adults are military Veterans, and served their country proudly, even if in silence. Forty- percent of transgender Americans attempt suicide by age 30, and those numbers become more horrific among transgender Veterans.
The Cincinnati VA Medical Center is strongly committed to equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Thank you to Nursing Services and Registered Nurse, Devon Wavra for sharing her story.
If you are a Service member or Veteran in crisis or you’re concerned about one, there are specially trained responders ready to help you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Service members and Veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text-messaging service.
• Dial 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk to someone.
• Send a text message to 838255 to connect with a VA responder.
• Start a confidential online chat session at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat
• Take a self-check quiz at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Quiz to learn whether stress and depression might be affecting you.
• Visit MilitaryCrisisLine.net if you are an active duty Service member, Guardsman, or Reservist.