Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)

 Quarterly Newsletter                                     Fall 2016
Know Your Rights
Become A Member
TAVA President Message
Dear Veterans, 

Welcome to the fifth issue of The Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) e-Newsletter! The aim of this publication is to keep you informed of new initiatives of TAVA and updates concerning the transgender veteran community. The TAVA e-Newsletter is published quarterly. Each issue brings you the latest information on new TAVA initiatives, TAVA partners, conferences TAVA will send a representative to, and news items that are of interest for the transgender veteran. 

To make sure you stay connected, please subscribe to TAVA's quarterly newsletter via the TAVA website. We also encourage our followers to join and/or renew your membership. For more information on TAVA membership, please visit: We hope you find the TAVA e-Newsletter is a valuable resource in collecting information about TAVA and the issues concerning you, the transgender veteran. We welcome your suggestions and feedback. You can contact us directly on the website at and submit your message. 
Evan Young
MAJ, U.S. Army (Ret.)
National President,
Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)
TAVA Remembers Ann Marie Knittle
The TAVA Board of Directors lost a beautiful soul. On
July 17, 2016, Board-Member-at-Large, U.S. Army Veteran Ann Marie Knittle, passed away.  She was 64 years old. Her tireless and committed work over the
past decade for transgender veterans will always be
remembered. Ann Marie was a key member of the
TAVA Board of Directors. We shall never forget her selfless service. Please take time to read about Ann Marie's life and work here:

Support TAVA each time you shop with AmazonSmile
Anytime you shop on Amazon, you can elect 
to have a small proceed of your purchases go
directly to TAVA. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the
price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases 
to the charitable organization of your choice. With
the holidays fast approaching, this is a great way
to support transgender veterans! Be sure to select
TAVA to add our organization as your charity of
choice here:

TAVA Website Updates

Over the past few months, we have continued to make updates to our redesigned website. This version is user-friendly and allows for simple navigation and access to important resources and information. Here are a few updates and recent additions made to the website since
our last e-newsletter: 
  • Tribute Gift - make a donation in memory of a veteran. 
  • Story Submission - we are currently seeking DD 214 personal stories on how changing your name changed your life. You can submit your story directly to TAVA's Media Director on our website. 
  • Downloadable documents - now includes a comprehensive repository of transgender-specific forms and directives to assist in health and benefits within the Veterans Administration.
  • Journalist Tips - guidance for those writing on transgender veterans and active duty service members.
  • Trans Support Locator - includes new VA and local peer support groups! Find the nearest trans support group. In addition, you can even submit a location listing.

    Stay tuned as we continue to make more updates
    • TAVA Pride Store - We heard your request and we are building a store for items that educate the public on our issues. Get ready for our awesome T-shirts, Challenge Coins, & Patches.
    • Additional veteran benefit information.
    • New TAVA postcards.
    • Speaker's Bureau
    • TAVA Historical Timeline

TAVA Membership

Members are the foundation of TAVA's strength. Our membership model allows anyone to join regardless 
of financial ability. Choose what level best meet your needs and abilities. Your generous gift will help to enable TAVA’s prprograms, advocacy, and outreach 
to be stronger and more effective. Become a member
and join a grassroots force which supports over 134,000 transgender veterans in their quest for equality. For more info, please visit Thank you! 


TAVA Advocacy And Outreach
Since our last newsletter, TAVA has continued to advocate for open trans military service, benefits for trans service members, spouses & family members, and transgender well-being throughout the VA system. TAVA has continued to serve as an educational organization by providing outreach at various conferences and VA hospitals.

TAVA has helped the VA and the Department of Defense to better understand those service members in their charge that identify as gender-variant. As military veterans that have served proudly, we continue to serve so that others may serve openly and proudly, regardless of gender. TAVA stands by to assist whenever and wherever we can. If you are having issues with the VA, please submit your message here:

TAVA Represents at Sunset Parade 
Kimberly MooreOn July 14, 2016, TAVA Board Member Kimberly was
honored to attend a reception for Women in Naval
Service as a guest of the Commandant of the Marine
Corps. The Guest of Honor was The Honorable Ray
Mabus, Secretary of the U.S. Navy. At the same
ceremony, Secretary Mabus annonced an Arleigh-
Burke class destroyer, DDG 123, will be named in
honor of Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee. To read more
about this event, visit:

TAVA Represents At Palm Center Open Transgender Service Symposium
On Juy 13, 2016, TAVA Board Member Kimberly proudly represented the 134,000 transgender
Veterans, TAVA, and the U.S. Marine Corps at the
Palm Center's symposium on open transgender
military service. Kimberly was also a featured speaker
at this historic event. TAVA is one of 13 organizations
co-sponsoring . For more information, visit

TAVA Present At 2016 San Diego Pride 
In July, TAVA Board Member Zander represented TAVA at this year's San Diego Pride event. This year's Pride Parade was historic in that we celebrated the lifting of the ban on open transgender military service. In addition, Eric Fanning, the new Secretary of the U.S. Army, served as a grand marshal at Saturday's parade! A big thank you to our two awesome volunteers: Stacy, Navy Veteran and Jessy, Air Force Veteran. We look forward to seeing everyone again in 2017!

TAVA Represents at Lavender Law® Conference and Career Fair
Image result for lavender law 2016 conferenceIn August, TAVA National President Evan participated as a speaker in this annual conference. Evan was on a workshop panel that discussed the procedures for requesting a name change to a veteran’s DD-214 and legal arguments supporting such a request. It also discussed recent developments on this issue. The 2017 schedule will be updated as it becomes available. For more information visit

TAVA Board Member Attends Gender Odyssey
In August, TAVA Board Member Zander attended Gender Odyssey. This  is an annual international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. Included are workshops, discussion groups, social events and entertainment. This annual gathering attracts people from all over the world. For more information, please visit

TAVA Participates in Commander-In-Chief Forum
Image result for commander in chief forumTAVA National President Evan attended September 7th's historic Commander-In-Chief Forum with both Clinton and Trump. Evan was asked to prepare a question in the event he was picked to speak to the candidates during the forum. He planned to ask the following question: "Do you support medically necessary transition-related surgeries by the VA for transgender veterans that have served their country honorably?"

TAVA Board Member Panelist on NMCSD Care and Transition Panel
On September 16, TAVA Board Member Zander was a panel member, along with transgender Veteran Laila Ireland and her husband, active duty Air Force SVM, Logan Ireland, for the Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Department of Mental Health Grand Rounds on "Transgender Service Members- Care & Transition." Zander was introduced as the NMCSD Transgender Treatment Team Case Manager.

TAVA Board Member Featured In Stories For Love
TAVA Board Member Kimberly recently spoke with
Stories For Love. "I did 20 years in the United States
Marine Corps. This has been a part of me ever since
I was 6 years old. I came from a conservative background, and created a lot of barriers within myself. I am in the process of tearing the barriers down." You can read the 
full article at

TAVA Upcoming Schedule
  • March 2017 - STRONG Stakeholder Meeting - Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

Make Your Voice Heard 

TAVA has compiled important surveys, petitions and studies for the transgender veteran community. Your voice matters and is critical to the process of collecting data and providing important feedback. Feel free to share these with other transgender veterans you may know.
  • DD-214 Survey
    TAVA's survey available online for those veterans who attempted to change their DD-214 and received a response back from their service board. The survey can be found on our website and at this link:

  • DD-214 Discharge Upgrade/Name Change Survey 
    TAVA is excited to announce free legal help with DD-214's. We have a new survey available online for those wishing to upgrade or change their name on their DD-214. It will help us get a handle of the need for assistance. We have partnered with a pool of experienced attorneys who provide free legal representation to veterans in upgrading their discharge and changing their name on their DD-214. If you are interested, please fill out the following survey: In addition, if you need assistance immediately, please contact our president, Evan Young, at or 516-TAVA-911.

  • VA Related Care Survey
    If you are a veteran who uses the VA for their healthcare needs, we want to hear from you. Please take the TAVA VA related care survey located at
  • Lambda Legal and Transgender Law Center Petition VA to Provide Surgery for Transgender Veterans
    Lambda Legal and Transgender Law Center, with co-counsel WilmerHale, petitions the VA on behalf of TAVA and group of individual veterans to change the ruling that excludes transition related surgery for transgender veterans. Read the petition filed here:
    . Sign the petition here:
  • Trans* PDHC Survey 
    The purpose of this survey is to understand experiences or perceptions of discrimination in healthcare settings that one may have had based on being transgender. This voluntary survey is designed to measure perceptions by trans* people of discrimination they may encounter while using or trying to access healthcare services. Take the survey here:

  • Gender Diverse Parents Study
    Are you a gender diverse (non-cisgender) parent? Would you be willing to answer some confidential questions about your life and about your family? The purpose of this study is to examine the many ways families headed by gender diverse parents have been created, explore how families function, and learn about the relationship between partners.

Department of Defense Latest News

Some of the latest updates out of the Department of Defense.

Veteran Affairs Updates

TAVA is your liaison to the Department of Veterans Affairs. We actively advocate for transgender veterans at the VA level by providing input and advice internally to the VA. Daily, we assist veterans in coming out to their primary care doctors in addition to answering questions on the VA directive for transgender care. TAVA stands by to assist whenever and wherever we can. Please contact us if you are experiencing issues with the VA:
  • TAVA Assists VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (PIHCS) With TDOR Observance
    TAVA is pleased to share that we received much positive feedback for providing our assistance to VA PIHCS for their 2015 TDOR Observance. The efforts turned out to be a major catalyst in bringing LGBT Veteran issues to the forefront at VA PIHCS. Our narratives helped staff to consider the experiences of transgender service members through the lens of sharing personal stories and experiences. You can read more about VA PICHS here:
  • TAVA Included In Minneopolis VA Resource List
    We are happy to announce that the Minneapolis VA Health Care System has now included us on their resource list for transgender veterans. To read more about the Minneapolis VA Health Care System LGBT Program, please visit:

  • New VHA Transgender Veteran Fact Sheets
    As part of the VA online LGBT Veteran Program, the VA has released 2 new transgender veteran healthcare sheets - Female Veterans: Transgender Female Health Care and Male Veterans: Transgender Male Health Care These are great resources to print and bring to appointments.     
  • Improving LGBT Healthcare For Military Veterans
    The Veterans Health Administration is implementing system-wide changes aimed at improving LGBT care including transgender e-consultations and the addition of a self-identified gender identity field to all veteran record systems. Read more here
  • Senators Join Call to Repeal VA’s Ban on Care for Transgender Veterans
    A group of U.S. Senators sent a letter urging the VA to eliminate its ban on medically necessary transition-related surgeries for transgender veterans. Read the full statement here 

True Stories of Transgender Service in Our Armed Forces 

Trans Veterans Lives is an ongoing TAVA project which features stories of transgender veterans from across the world. We have added new stories since our last newsletter. 

The stories are archived on the website. Here is our latest story featured: Randi Blocker: An Uncommon Life by Denny Meyer.

Have you ever thought about sharing your story? Visit and directly submit your story
on the TAVA website. 


U.S. Trans Survey - Preliminary Findings
The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released some preliminary findings concerning transgender people’s experiences in bathrooms. This data demonstrates why it is crucial for transgender people to be able to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. Additional data will be available later this year. Read more here

TAVA supports TransMilitary in their quest
to bring this documentary to the big screen. Funders and distributers have already complimented this film but want to see a 
rough cut before they invest. Find out how
to donate so that this feature documentary
is playing on a big screen near you soon!

     Are You Ready To Vote?
Voting is a key part of having our voices heard on
issues that affect the transgender community. Be
sure to check out NCTE "Voting While Trans”
checklist to make sure you're ready to vote:

Find Support and Stay Connected
Trans Lifeline (877)565-8860 is a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people. Volunteers are ready to respond and provide support.

Image result for veterans crisis lineVeterans Crisis Line (800)273-8255 Press 1. The VCL connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with confidential assistance.

Image result for facebook logoAn extension of TAVA's successful Facebook page, the private group provides a safe-space to find info, resources and support. We would love to have you join us!

Now you can contact TAVA by phone (516) TAVA-911
Contact Us 

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Transgender American Veterans Association · P.O. Box 4153 · Akron, OH 44310 · USA

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