Ohio is First to Form Transgender Veterans Group

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From TAVA staff reports

The first Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) state chapter recently formed in Ohio . The chapter was the first state chapter in what organizers hope will be a list of statewide groups allied with the nationally based veterans’ group.

On 23 December 2005, R ev. Robin Rogers called a meeting of ten transgender veterans to order in Steubenville , Ohio , and so was born the first Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) state chapter. As the news gets out, more Ohio veterans are asking how to join.

Rev. Rogers, herself a veteran and a male-to-female transsexual, is ready to file the necessary incorporation papers as an Ohio non-profit organization. TAVA Ohio will fall under the auspices and federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status of the national TAVA organization. 

TAVA Ohio is the first transgender and intersex state veterans organization to be formed as part of the Transgender American Veterans Association. Each state organization will follow the bylaws of the national organization and will offer veterans and supporters a real presence as well as a virtual one. Chief among the functions of state and local TAVA chapters will be preparedness for supporting transgender and intersex veterans and active duty members in times of natural or other disasters. TAVA National began this tradition following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Our initial goal is to create unity, healing and awareness with a March to the Wall for our transgender veterans," said Angela Brightfeather, TAVA Vice President. "Now TAVA expands our goals and support by the effort to reach transgender veterans at the state level. The Ohio Chapter of TAVA [makes Ohio] the first proud state to reach this important next step in support of our transgender veterans."

TAVA was founded three years ago to support transsexual, intersex, and other transgender veterans in their quest for dignity and appropriate medical care in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration Customer Service Standards. Now a 501(c)(3) organization, TAVA educates the Department of Veteran Affairs, Congress, and the US military on the needs and concerns of transgender and transsexual individuals.

Several other TAVA state organizations are currently in planning stages, including Tennessee and Wisconsin .

"With Ohio now in operation as the first state chapter of TAVA, it will be easier to seek improvement of veteran care for all transgender veterans, according to Ann Marie Knittel, TAVA Secretary and organizer of the chapter initiative.  "We will have better access to valid demographic data concerning denial of service to veterans due to acknowledged or suspected gender identity disorder (GID," said Knittel..  "This will support efforts to change Public Law and/or VA
policy and procedures to provide better healthcare for transgender and intersex veterans. TAVA is pleased to have its first Chapter formed in one of the most anti-GLBTI states in the Union."

TAVA Ohio officers will hold an organizational meeting on 7 January 2006. This will be followed by an open meeting of the membership on January 14, 2005 . Prospective members are invited. For further information regarding the Ohio chapter, contact Rev. Robin Rogers at rev_robin_rogers@sbcglobal.net or 1-877-427-3230.

Visit TAVA online at www.tavausa.org. For further information on TAVA, contact Robyn Walters at media@tavausa.org.