Reply To: Spotlight On: Local Places

Michelle Lawson

Transgender American Veterans Association

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.

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