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The Orlando Atrocity

The proud patriotic veterans and service members of Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) share the nation’s horror and outrage that our sacred national freedom was violated by an individual who killed and injured over 100 LGBT Americans in Orlando this past weekend.

What we LGBT people can say is “We are Americans!” This was an attack on us as a nation. As transgender American veterans, who have proudly and patriotically volunteered to serve in our nation’s armed forces, we feel that assault doubly on our identity, on who we are. This past weekend, President Obama said simply and properly that “this was an assault on all of us.”

TAVA’s President, Major Evan Young, US Army retired, said, “We stand with HRC and our fellow Americans in our belief that love will conquer hate in response to the senseless act of terrorism during our pride month celebration. Our brothers, sisters, family, and allies were targeted and our freedom and resolve tested. As veterans, we are keenly aware of that price for freedom, and I personally call on each and everyone to step up their situational awareness, administer self-care, and be safe out there.”

Some resources to help our community cope with this atrocity and assist are:

GLBT Community Center of Central Florida Crisis Counseling

GoFundMe for Orlando Victims

Trans Lifeline

While the investigation into this act of hatred is ongoing, we know this: hate begets more hate. As victims of ignorant bigotry, we are well aware that it is all too easy to cast blame on others who are different from ourselves, and try to exclude or harm them. That is how this atrocity happened. Thus, what we can learn is that we must rededicate ourselves to inclusion and to insist on inclusion. You do not have to love everyone, but hate begets hate.

Evan Young, TAVA President 516-828-2911;
Denny Meyer, TAVA Public Affairs, 718-849-5665;

Evan Young

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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