T ransgender A merican
V eterans A ssociation

For Immediate Release: 30 November 2003
From:  The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)
Media Contact:  Tina Rice
Contact Email:  media@tavausa.org
Contact Phone:  618.867.3028
Website:  http://www.tavausa.org

The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) will march to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, on Saturday, May 1, 2004.   Organizers hope to draw a significant group of supporters from the Transgender community to honor the many transgender people who served our nation with pride and honor.

Angela Brightfeather, Chair of the TAVA Special Projects Committee, noted many reasons for a march to the wall, most of which, "lie within our own hearts and the pride with which we served our country, and to finally pay our respects to our service members and friends, as we should, and in a way that they never knew us, as people of Transgender experience."

Credit has been given to many minorities in America.  They have had their members recognized for their sacrifices in the military and in serving our country.  Organizations have been formed to highlight the contributions and defend the rights of many of these veterans.  This march will be the first time that transgender veterans will have been recognized and remembered for their valuable contributions and sacrifices.

Due to the ongoing neglect of rights of Transgender American Veterans, this march should provide healing and recognition for those who have been and continue to be discriminated against due to their transgender status.

Like all American Veteran's who need to share their experiences, Transgender Veterans have been unable to gather and share those experiences openly with pride.  This march will establish the presence of Transgender veterans and provide a face and voice this group of American Veterans.  It is time our country recognizes that the Transgender community has heroes who contributed to our freedoms.

Monica Helms, President of TAVA, stated, "This event marks the first time transgender veterans will gather as a group to show that they exist.   Although the March will not make an overt political statement, the presence of these veterans will be noticed, and their quiet message will be heard."

Department of Veteran Affairs treatment of transgender veterans, particularly regarding health care for transsexual vets, is of concern to TAVA and to individual veterans.  The VA is prohibited by law from performing sex reassignment surgery. Other treatment required by transsexuals, e.g., gender identity disorder counseling and hormone therapy, while not prohibited, appears to be strongly discouraged by VA headquarters.  Requests for information from the VA Chief of Patient Services on legal and policy issues concerning treatment of transsexual veterans have failed to elicit any kind of acknowledgement.

Anyone wishing to join the march may check for details on the TAVA website:   http://www.geocities.com/tg_vet_march_to_the_wall/   or contact:  Angela Brightfeather at  projects@tavausa.org  or Tina Rice at   media@tavausa.org

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