|YES Institute video conference with multiple VA sites.|
Multiple video screens connected Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospitals and clinics across Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico in the largest-scale dialogue on gender and orientation in the VA's history. The dialogue’s success inspired VA leaders to contact YES Institute about leading an unprecedented national training.
“When I was in the military, nobody talked about orientation. As a man noticing my attraction to men, I struggled in silence.” - Jim, YES Institute speaker, US Veteran
At the dialogue, a Veteran and YES Institute speaker named Bree shared, “Growing up, I knew I was a girl, but I tried to bury those feelings and play along with everyone's expectation that I be masculine. Shame and hiding made me feel disconnected from my own life. In the Navy, I finally began expressing who I was in a secret journal.”
“My crew-mates were my family and only support. When they found my journal and discovered my secret, they didn't know how to react. They taunted me for weeks. In the end, I tried to kill myself.”- Bree, YES Institute speaker, US Navy Veteran
A VA staff member said, “My discomfort disappeared when I learned about the challenges transgender Veterans face.”
Bree shared with VA staff that she called the VA to access her healthcare and a phone representative repeatedly called her “Sir.” Bree said, “I was hurt and humiliated and I hung up.” It took her two years to regain the courage to claim her VA benefits. Bree said, “Pronouns and names are important. Being acknowledged with a preferred pronoun is healing."
By the time Bree contacted the VA a second time, the staff had participated in a number of YES Institute trainings. They walked Bree through the system with a commitment to ensuring her records were accurate and she had access to quality healthcare.
“Enlightening! This empowers me to be proactive and learn more. I will share YES Institute's education with others.”— Staff member, Tampa VA
|Connie Barden RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS and Co-Founder of YES Institute.|