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TAVA Completes Transition with Installation of New Officers

Washington, D.C., October 24, 2014 – Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) has completed a year-long transformation process with the installation of new officers at its Board of Directors meeting last week. TAVA has worked diligently over the last year to put a new face on the organization which has included updates to its Website and entry into social media, as well as an expanded Mission Statement which includes advocacy for open Transgender military service along with a push for more comprehensive, competent and relevant care and treatment for Transgender Veterans within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dayna Walker was elected as President following the retirement of Angela Brightfeather. Brightfeather, one of the organizations original founding members, was instrumental in the realignment of the organization over the past year. “This transition has been the plan over the last 18 months or so,” Walker stated, “Angela’s departure was a little earlier than anticipated, but she has worked tirelessly to ensure we remain relevant and viable going into the future.”

Also inducted was Evan Young as the Executive Vice President to the organization. “Evan has done the bulk of the heavy lifting regarding our updated media and social presence,” Walker lauded. “He is also a gifted, natural leader that has brought a plethora of new ideas to the table. It’s exciting to think of where we will move the organization next.”

Sage Fox was also elevated to a newly created Vice President position with expanded duties. “We’ve worked to grow this organization from the inside and this required greater presence and outreach capability than we had before,” Walker explained. “Because we are an all volunteer organization, we needed to double-down on our outreach capability and the addition of another officer position fit nicely.”

With this addition, Sage becomes the Vice President and continues with her role as Outreach Coordinator. “Sage has been absolutely amazing in some of the initiatives that she has been involved with,” according to Walker. “She has significantly moved the dial regarding Transgender benefits for not only military Veterans, but also for Active Duty and Reservist.” Captain Fox is to appear on a panel regarding open Transgender military service later this month in Washington, D.C.

Mary Almy was selected to the position of Treasurer for the organization and will work with the Board to generate additional funding for the organization. “The primary struggle for any non-profit is the ability to maintain a constant, steady revenue stream in order to accomplish the mission. This has been an area of focus and Mary will bring expertise in the field of grant writing and membership that provides us the ability to work on behalf of our membership going forward,” Walker stated.

“We can now focus on what is ahead of us,” Young explains. “It has taken some time to pull this organization forward and realign in a way where we can operate more efficiently and effectively serve our membership. We need to not only be an informational resource to Transgender Veterans but also a transformational organization that can positively impact policy going forward.”

“The Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe hosted by the ACLU and Palm Center is just one example of that,” according to Fox. “This was an opportunity to showcase what other allied nations have done in regards to open Transgender service, but also allow those closest to the topic to discuss their viewpoints and ideas of how we move forward in our nation’s military. Not only was I able to express my own experiences and ideas but also be a voice for thousands of Veterans, Active Duty and Reservists that have been unable to do so publically.”

TAVA Board member Laura Perry also joined the Officers of TAVA at the conference held October 20th in D.C. “Like all of our board members, Laura has worked not only for our organization but also for other organizations united towards a common goal,” according to Walker. “No single organization is going to win this fight, but together we are force multipliers that all push the envelope a little farther each day. I’m extremely proud and humbled by the amount of work our board members do, not only for TAVA, but also in their local areas and with other national organizations.”
Up next is a series of up-close interviews that promote Transgender Veterans stories as well as a series of surveys developed to gather data for increased benefits and open transgender military service.
TAVA is the nations only not-for- profit Transgender military organization dedicated solely to the advancement of Transgender rights and benefits within the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.

Media Contact:
TAVA Media Director Denny Meyer, (718) 849-5665, media@transveteran.org

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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