Letter to President Obama on the Stalled VA Policy for Trans Veterans

Transgender American Veteran Association White Paper: Transgender People In The U.S. Military(I felt the need to appeal to the President via E-mail on getting the stalled policy for the proper treatment of trans veterans out of the VA black hole.  The letters I keep getting from trans veterans of their mistreatment have been getting to me for a long time.  I hear they have people reading all E-mails at the WH, but I doubt it will go anywhere.  My phiosphy is that there is no shame in failure, but there is in failure to try.  I had to try.)

Dear Mr. President,

I am the President of the Transgender American Veterans Association, an 8-year organization to help trans veterans with their VA problems.  Trans veterans have been mistreated in the VA for decades, even those with 20 or more years of service.  We did a survey in 2007 and the results are horrible.  You can view it at  http://www.tavausa.org/Survey_Results.html

In 2008, TAVA and NCTE worked with the VA to draft a new policy that would resolve the problems we saw in the survey.  However, the VA has been sitting on it since July of 2008 and no one can tell us why.  We even appealed to Sec. Shinseki and he hasn’t been able to help.  This is a final appeal to someone who may listen and I am hoping you care about veterans still having problems with the VA.

Thumbnail Link: Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)I know that you have more on your plate than a sumo wrestler in an all-you can eat restaurant, but I received two new stories from trans veterans in the last 24 hrs that made me want to write this.  We have read dozens of similar problems since July of 2008 and the new policy would have helped, but the VA is still allowing the mistreatment to continue unchecked.

I had “hope” that you would treat all veterans with the respect they deserved and you have gone a long way in that manner.  I thank you for that.  But, the job is not anywhere over.  There are still veterans who are treated with disdain and discrimination simply because of the direction their lives took AFTER they served this country.  They fought for this country.  They protected this country and the people in it.  They even bled for this country and gave their limbs for this country.  And yet, the US still treats them like 3rd class citizens.  Is that the right treatment they deserve?

Mr. President, I am begging you to help.  It can’t be any more simpler than that.  Please ask the VA to release that policy, called, “Providing Healthcare for Transgender and Intersex Veterans.”  I did eight years in the Navy, my father was a veteran of three wars, my grandfather was a veteran, my brother and his son are veterans.  My son served 4 years in the Marines and did two tours in Iraq, so you are getting this appeal from a long line of people who have served proudly.  Since TAVA has met with closed doors for 17 months, I felt a need to turn to you for help.  On behalf of the thousands of trans veterans in the US, I ask for your help.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Monica Helms

President, TAVA

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Related:
* DADT and the TAVA Survey Revisited
* TAVA And The Palm Center: A Look At Transgender Military And Veteran Experiences

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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Senate Republicans Block Defense Bill; “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Stalled

Today, our military readiness and national security were set back as Senator John McCain successfully led a Republican filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to which the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is attached. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has committed to bringing the bill back up following the election.

“This filibuster was election year politics at its worst,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “It’s a shame that during a time of war, senators wouldn’t even allow debate on the bill that provides a pay raise for our troops.”

In its continuing efforts to end the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members, HRC today released a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on him not to appeal a recent court decision ruling DADT unconstitutional. Additionally, HRC is calling on its members and supporters to petition Holder to decline to appeal the case.

“We still have a fighting chance to repeal DADT through congressional action but in the meantime, the best interests of our men and women in uniform – as well as the country – are served by doing everything we can do to get rid of this discriminatory law,” added Solmonese.  “We expect the Justice Department to recognize the overwhelming evidence that proves DADT is unconstitutional.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright