Veterans Advisory: Trans American Veterans Association (forming state and local chapters

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KNOXVILLE -Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA,) a non-profit organization that supports equitable healthcare treatment of transgender veterans, is expanding its outreach by forming TAVA chapters in states or localities with interested veterans, friends, family, and other allies.

Chapters will be formed under the auspices of TAVA National, according to Ann Marie Knittel, TAVA Secretary and Chapter Liaison. "Anyone interested in being a part of a Chapter in Tennessee can join. You don’t have to be transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual. All you need is a heart to want to help assist veterans and individuals, in obtaining their benefits,” explains Knittel.

Having a local chapter focus specifically on issues faced by veterans of the United States armed forces is important for not only those in Tennessee, but for every state. The organization will address medical benefit problems for transgender veterans as well as lesbian, gay, and bisexual veterans as well. Plans are underway to insure that each chapter will receive training in skills required to assist the GLBT community during state and regional natural disasters.

The intial organizational meeting for TAVA Chapter of Tennessee, will be held at 5:00 pm, on Saturday, 25th day of March, 2006, at Alternative Counseling Center (Saroj Chand’s office building) located at 3105 Essary Road, Knoxville, Tennessee in the Fountain City area.

The purpose of the initial meeting is to gauge interest, explain chapter information and incorporation process, and to seek candidates for chapter officers. For further information, contact Bear and Andrew Rodgers by phone at (865) 689-4260 or by email at tennessee_chapter_tava@yahoo.com.

TAVA serves as an educational organization that assists Congress, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Defense to better understand and respect transgender, intersexed and GLBT service members and veterans. TAVA also provides information and support for current and former military members, including guidance on how to best work with these organizations.

Founded in 2003, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) is a 501(c)(3) organization that acts proactively with other concerned GLBT organizations to ensure that transsexual, transgender and GBLT veterans will receive appropriate care for medical conditions in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration Customer Service Standards promise to "treat you with courtesy and dignity … as the first class citizen that you are." Further, TAVA will help in educating the VA and the US military on issues regarding fair and equal treatment of transgender and transsexual individuals.

For further information regarding Tava national membership, contact TAVA National Secretary Ann Marie Knittel toll-free at 1-877-427-3230 or visit the TAVA Web site at www.tavausa.org.