T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

 

Massachusetts Chapter of TAVA breaks ties with local advocacy group

January 11, 2008

Press Release.  Please distribute.

Transgender American Veterans Association

Contact: Monica F. Helms

President@tavausa.org

www.tavausa.org

 

In a decisive move today, Michael West, the Chair of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Transgender American Veterans Association (MATAVA,) informed the new Director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Gunner Scott, and another board member, Holly Ryan, that MATAVA will no longer be part of their coalition.  This move came after an article appeared in Bay Windows, by the title of "Scott to head MTPC, HRC and local orgs provide financial support," dated January 10, 2008.  http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=blog&sc2=news&sc3=&id=54721.  The article stated that MTPC recently received a donation of $25,000 from the Human Rights Campaign and is planning on forming stronger ties with them.

 

West said, "The Massachusetts Chapter of TAVA feels that the timing of MTPC acceptance of funds from HRC is ill timed.  The MA Chapter of TAVA felt we needed to send a clear message by leaving the Legislative Coalition headed by MTPC.  This is about standing behind the entire Transgender Community and the MA Chapter of TAVA's integrity."

 

"The entire Board of TAVA fully supports Mr. West's decision to cut ties with MTPC," stated Monica Helms, President of TAVA.  "Mr. West's work in Massachusetts for TAVA has been phenomenal, as has his work as TAVA's Internet Director.  We applaud his show of integrity in this situation."

 

It should be noted that TAVA did accept a $500 donation from HRC back in the early part of 2004 to help pay for a bus at their first Transgender Veterans March to the Wall, to help disabled veterans participate in the event.  This was back when the transgender community began working with HRC.  The $25,000 received by MTPC was received in December of 2007, long after HRC came out and supported a gay-only ENDA when they originally said they wouldn't.

 

West feels that the decision by MTPC to align themselves with HRC will do nothing but split the transgender community of Massachusetts for many years to come.  He hopes that Scott with reconsider his decision before further damage is made.

 

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The Mission Statement for the Organization shall read as follows: Founded in 2003, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) is a 501 (c) 3 organization that acts proactively with other concerned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations to ensure that transgender veterans will receive appropriate care for their medical conditions in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration's 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 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on issues regarding fair and equal treatment of transgender and transsexual individuals.  Also, TAVA will help the general transgender community when deemed appropriate.


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