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Transgender Veterans March Takes Shape

For Immediate Release: February 10, 2005
From: The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)
Media Contact: Robyn Walters
Contact Email: media@transveteran.org
president@transveteran.org
Contact Phone: 360 434-3042
Website: http://www.transveteran.org

This year’s transgender veterans gathering in Washington, DC, will be expanded to include a stop at the new World War II Memorial. The May 21, 2005 ‘March to the Wall’ will also revisit the Vietnam and Iwo Jima Memorials and culminate with the very emotional and proud experience of dedicating a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.

“2004 marked the first ever Transgender March to the Wall,” said Angela Brightfeather, event organizer and TAVA Special Projects Chairperson. “In 2005 we will be creating the Tradition for this very important event.”

March organizers have selected the COMFORT INN DOWNTOWN DC/CONVENTION CENTER as event headquarters. The hotel is located at 1201 Thirteenth Street NW, Washington, DC and is near subway lines, Union Station, the White House, Capitol Hill, national museums, and other sites of interest. Information on the hotel, its amenities, its surroundings, and directions can be at <http://www.choicehotels.com/ires/hotel/DC601>. Reservations for the nights of May 20th and 21st may be made at a rate of $109 per night plus tax by calling 202-682-5300 (Fax: 202-408-0830) and asking for the special TAVA rate. Although street parking is often possible, hotel parking is available for an additional $27 per day.

Those attending the TAVA March events must preregister at http://transveteran.org/?page_id=234l in order to ensure a place on the chartered buses and at the Saturday dinner. Hotel reservations must be made directly with the hotel. TAVA will endeavor to facilitate room sharing, but each person or group must make its own hotel reservations.

“There are thousands of transgender veterans in America,” said TAVA President Monica Helms. “We want them to experience what 50 of us experienced last year. It was an event of a lifetime, and the first time will be a cherished memory for life.”

Event sign in will begin at 3 pm on Friday, May 20 at the hotel, followed by a reception from 7 pm to 10 pm.

Saturday breakfast is from 8 am to 10 am. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast. Participants will board the bus at 10 am to visit the veterans memorials. Lunch will be on your own at the Mall. The tour will end with an afternoon wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at a time to be determined.

The bus will depart for the hotel at about 4:30 pm. Cocktails will be available at a cash bar beginning at 6:30, with dinner at 7:30 pm.

Sunday morning will see goodbyes at breakfast with promises to meet again next year.

“The impact made by the first March to the Wall was recognized by everyone in the GLBT community,” said Brightfeather. “The commitment of TAVA to the success and importance of that gathering clearly pointed out the need to make this a yearly pilgrimage and a tradition in our community. Few events in the Transgender Community have such an important and special meaning as this gathering of Transgender Veterans.”

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 schedule updates via event links at http://www.transveteran.org. If you need additional information, write to Angela Brightfeather at president@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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