Ohio is First to
Form Transgender Veterans Group Tennessee and Wisconsin next in
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, Rev. 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
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-427-3230.