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Mission

Founded in 2003, the Transgender American Veterans Association is a grassroots organization that advocates for the equality of transgender veterans and active duty service members to receive fair and equal treatment in areas such as healthcare, benefits, and open transgender military service. We help veterans change their name and gender within the Department of Veteran affairs, update their DD 214 name and characterization of discharge, and provide services such as our transgender support locator, which offers local support for transgender persons. TAVA is committed to equal rights for all veterans.

TAVA is active by having our voice heard at key VA and DoD high level meetings. Our role as an organizational plaintiff with Lambda Legal and the Transgender Law Center has increased awareness and demanded answers from the VA regarding transition-related surgeries. Daily, we assist Veterans in coming out to their doctors, educating VA staff on the VA directive for transgender care, and guiding those in need of updating their DD-214 form. We also provide community and comradeship through our membership and social media platforms. Anyone can become a member of TAVA by donating any amount from $1 and upwards. The money raised goes directly to helping transgender Veterans and active duty service members. Our board of directors do not get paid, as we are an all volunteer board.

Goals

Transgender American Veterans Association goals include:

  1. Treatment of veterans who suffer from Gender Dysphoria with the dignity promised those who have served our country.
  2. Provision of authorized medical and mental health services to veterans without regard to their history of Gender Dysphoria.
  3. Provision of Gender Dysphoria related medical and mental health to veterans in accordance with the Benjamin Standards of Care.
  4. Assist any GLBT organization who helps active duty transgender and transsexual persons by providing detailed insight to these issues.
  5. To partner with any group or organization for the betterment of all American veterans, regardless of their transgender status.

Vision

Our organization will endeavor to work with the VA, Congress, interested veterans, veterans groups, active duty military personal and LGBT groups to influence Public Law, as well as VA and military policy, regulations, and procedures, to the end of covering the medical and psychological needs of veterans suffering from Gender Dysphoria. In attempting to improve veteran care for all transsexual and transgender veterans, the organization will follow a policy of causing no harm to veterans or VA clinics or staff that currently provides such care for veterans. We extend this policy to ensure we cause no harm to any active duty military personal by keeping their issues in a strict confidence.

Plan of Action
  • Research current law and VA regulations and policy concerning treatment related to Gender Dysphoria [DSM V].
  • Gather and analyze valid demographic data concerning denial of service to veterans due to acknowledged or suspected GD.
  • The range and depth of Benjamin Standards of Care treatment provided for preoperative, postoperative, and nonoperative transsexuals in the various VA regions and health care facilities, including denial of GD-related medical and mental health care.
  • Determine a course of action to eliminate denial of authorized services to veterans due to their having GD.
  • Determine and describe GD treatment shortcomings.
  • Develop a reasonable set of treatment options for veterans with GD.
  • Determine impediments to VA provision of adequate treatment for veterans with GD, including, but not limited to, Public Law, VA regulations, attitude of local VA managers, and lack of staff education.
  • Develop recommended changes to Public Law and/or VA policy and procedures.
  • Develop a plan to educate for changes to law, policy, and procedures.
  • Develop consensus among Veterans Groups of the validity of both the needed changes and the methods for making change.
  • Institute action by a coalition of groups to bring necessary changes to fruition.
  • Lend assistance with legal organizations that provide service to any active duty service member if they have been outed while on duty. This will include: Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), And other private services
  • Work toward providing an open dialogue with the Department of Defense and the military services on issues concerning transgender and transsexual military personnel.
  • Work with national veterans’ organizations to help educate them on TG/TS issues; and educate the nation in understanding that “We served proudly, too.”
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