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Transgender Veterans to March Again

For Immediate Release: October 11, 2004
From: The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)
Media Contact: Tina Rice
Contact Email: media@transveteran.org
Contact Phone: 618.867.3028
Website: http://www.transveteran.org

After assessing the success of the first Transgender Veterans March to the Wall held last May, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) is moving once again to gather transgender veterans in Washington, DC.

The First Transgender March to the Wall was for history. The second March to the Wall on May 20, 2005 will be for tradition. With the addition of a tour of the newly opened WWII Memorial, the March will be expanded. As with this year’s tour, the 2005 March will also visit the Vietnam Memorial and Iwo Jima Memorial and will experience the very emotional and proud moment of dedicating a wreath at the Tomb of the Unkowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

Fifty-five Transgender Veterans and significant others from across the country attended this year’s March to the Wall. The emotional event was also supported and witnessed by many others in the GLBTI community from Washington, DC and around the country.

“No one could have anticipated the tremendous success of this year’s March to the Wall in bringing together so many Transgender Veterans for the first time, said Angela Brightfeather, event organizer and TAVA Special Projects Chairperson. Added to that success is the fact that so many other GLBTI people have recognized the importance of this March, not only to the Transgender Veterans, but also to our community in general. By providing the hub for other events to gather around with pride and determination, TAVA has touched on the emotion and great sacrifices made by the GLBTI community in the defense of our nation. By honoring our past, we will be able to more effectively and emotionally gather together to create the motivation that will change our future.”

TAVA expects that the success of the first March to the Wall will encourage more Transgender Veterans to attend the May 2005 event. Pictures of this year’s March can be viewed at the TAVA web site under the ‘Events’ link.

“The National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) is honored to support this effort to honor transgender veterans and all veterans,” said Robyn Walters, NTAC Secretary and TAVA Veterans Affairs Liaison Representative. “NTAC was happy to coordinate its May 18 – 20, 2005 Congressional Lobby Days schedule with the TAVA March dates. Both organizations look forward to the same synergy seen in last year’s events.”

Karen Rice, TAVA Secretary and partner of Tina Rice, veteran and TAVA Media Director, captured the solemnity of the occasion with these thoughts: “On the first March to the Wall I stood proudly with men and women who served their country in at least four conflicts – WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm. For the first time in their lives they mourned their fallen compatriots [while standing] proudly and openly as themselves. They paid tribute to the many who have served in silence. We know, as some may not, that there are those who serve in silence now. They love their country, and they welcome those who would like to join us and support them.”

Please join TAVA and the many transgender veterans as we once again provide a chance for healing from the many wounds of war and of life. Find details and updates via event links at www.transveteran.org. To participate in the March, or for additional information, write to Angela Brightfeather at projects@transveteran.org.

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The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) acts proactively with other concerned GLBT organizations to ensure that transsexual and transgendered 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 a fair and equal treatment of transgendered and transsexual individuals. TAVA will also educate for a change in public law and policy that will help initiate this fair and equal treatment.

Denny Meyer

Sgt. First Class Denny Meyer, the son of WWII Holocaust refugees, was reared bilingually in the mid 1940s postwar immigrant refugee community on New York City ‘s Upper West Side . His mother, he notes with pride, arrived at Ellis Island as an illegal alien fleeing Nazi persecution. She taught him that, “there is nothing more precious than American Freedom.”

He has been an activist for over 50 years, starting with his first march with the NAACP at the age of 13 in 1960, working for civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights and transgender rights for our military service members and veterans.

In 1968 he volunteered, “To pay my country back for my family’s freedom.” He served for ten years in two services; in the Navy aboard an aircraft carrier, in a Huey helicopter squadron HQ, at NATO US headquarters; and in specialized Army Reserve units; and served as an inter-agency liaison and negotiator.

Sgt. Denny has spoken at universities and colleges including Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Hofstra, and Lehman (CUNY) among other venues; combining history, humor, pathos, and anger to tell his story.

In addition to serving as TAVA’s Media Director, he is the national Public Affairs and Veterans Affairs officer of AVER and edits GayMilitarySignal.com.

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