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TAVA represents at Little Rock Air Force Base

10/2/2014 – LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — The Transgender American Veterans Association’s Secretary and retired Army Major, Evan Young, spoke on transgender military inclusion during the Second Annual Diversity Day, September 26, 2014, at Little Rock Air Force Base.

The diversity day included other guest speakers such as Dr. Terrance Roberts, one of the original Little Rock Nine members. “Diversity in the military is important, and we should accept each other equally without prejudice,” said Mr. Young. Many people assume that lifting the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ban allowed all LGBT service members to openly serve; however, that is far from the truth. Transgender troops are still forced in the closet and can be discharged if discovered despite their exemplary service record.

A recent PALM Center study with Dr. Joyce Elders, former US Surgeon General, and Rear Admiral Steinman, stated that there is no medical rationale for the banning transgender service members. In fact, eliminating the ban would allow commanders to take better care of their personnel. Even the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th ed., (DSM–5) no longer classifies gender non-conformity as a mental illness.

Mr. Young said that there are currently 10 countries that allow open transgender military service, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

It is time the military recognize transgender service members and lift the ban. Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, stated in May that he’s now ready to reconsider the ban on transgender service but has yet to initiate action towards this goal.

TAVA is a supporter of equal treatment of transgender military veterans and active duty service members. They also secure benefits for transgender service members, spouses and families, fight for continued improvement of transgender well-being through the VA system and Tricare, and advocate for transgender veteran’s employment.

Little Rock Air Force Base Diversity Day proved to be equal and fair, having groups represented from a broad spectrum, including every part of the LGBT acronym.

Evan Young

Evan Young is originally from Little Rock, Ark. He graduated basic training in 1989, transitioned from a sergeant to lieutenant in 1998, and rose to the rank of Major before retiring. In 1998, Evan graduated from Northwestern State University of Louisiana with a B.A. in English. From there, he continued his studies while on Active Duty and graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Florida with a M.S. in Management Information Systems. He earned his public affairs credentials in 2004 and broadcasting management credentials in 2007. He served in the Reserves, Guard, and Active Duty. He was the Hawaii National Guard as a Public Affairs officer and a Media Officer at NORAD and US NORTHCOM. Evan began transition in 2011. He retired from the Army as a Major in 2013. Since then he began his own web development company, EF Young, has written for OutServe magazine as a blogger, is the former president of the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition, and currently serves as the national president of the Transgender American Veterans Association. Evan currently lives in Dover, AR. with his two children.

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