Transgender woman says Alaska VA Healthcare System saved her life

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - On Wednesday, the Veteran Affairs Regional Office in Anchorage memorialized those killed with violence against transgender and gender-variant individuals.

Those were lives that weren’t saved. Hannah Sadler, a transgender woman, said hers was.

“It’s one of the things that has helped save my life and to be the person that I am today,” Sadler said.

Hannah Sadler served for four years in the Marine Corps. She said that part of the reason she joined the military was to convince herself of something she was not.

“The manliest thing you can do was join the Marine Corps,” Sadler said. “And that’s what I did.”

For years, Sadler said she struggled with her gender identity.

“I wasn’t honest about myself,” Sadler said.

“Our facility is very dedicated to making sure that quality health care is accessible to all veterans,” said Jessie Kullberg, the LGBT Veteran Care Coordinator for the center. “Many of whom may have had a negative experience during their military experience and not have received the respect and dignity in that community.”

Kullberg said the Alaska VA Healthcare System can provide veterans with mental health services, primary care, hormone therapy for those seeking to transition genders, counseling and support groups.

According to a report by the Human Rights Campaign, at least 22 gender-non-conforming and trans people have been killed in the United States so far in 2019.

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