Founded in 2003, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) is a 501 (c) 3 organization that acts proactively with other concerned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) organizations to ensure that transgender veterans will receive appropriate care for their medical conditions in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration’s Customer Service Standards promise to “treat you with courtesy and dignity . . . as the first class citizen that you are.” Further, TAVA will help in educating the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on issues regarding fair and equal treatment of transgender and transsexual individuals. Also, TAVA will help the general transgender community when deemed appropriate.
Transgender American Veterans Association goals include:
- Treatment of veterans who suffer from Gender Dysphoria with the dignity promised those who have served our country.
- Provision of authorized medical and mental health services to veterans without regard to their history of Gender Dysphoria.
- Provision of Gender Dysphoria related medical and mental health to veterans in accordance with the Benjamin Standards of Care.
- Assist any GLBT organization who helps active duty transgender and transsexual persons by providing detailed insight to these issues.
- To partner with any group or organization for the betterment of all American veterans, regardless of their transgender status.
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.
- 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.”