The Transgender Assistance Program (TAP) announced the addition of three new members of its Board of Directors earlier this week.
Martina Jonas, Melissa Areheart and Jeannie Neil Bale joined TAP Virginia’s Board to bring their passion for trans* lives and offer the non-profit new ideas and skills to move the organization forward and expand their services.
Meet the new Board members:
Jeannie Neil Bale
Jeannie Neil Bale is a Small Business owner on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Transgender Activist. She’s passionate about Trans Rights and educating others. She’s a strong advocate of fostering Change through education and awareness as well as creating safe and open venues for all in the LGBTQ community.
Martina was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area. They are an ODU alum and they currently teach at Hampton University. In addition to their dedication to helping the trans homeless community and being vocal about trans rights, Martina is an advocate of trans POC visibility, and their passions include showcasing and giving voice to trans POC artists. Martina is a musician and bird enthusiast, and they currently reside in Portsmouth with their husband, dog, and finches
Melissa Arehart has lived in the Hampton Roads area for 30+ years. She transitioned later in life, and decided early on in her transition that it was important to use her life experiences and knowledge to be of service to the trans community.
“When I came out a few years ago, I realized that I wasn’t alone. This is a very important message for all trans people. The trans community has support from people who truly care about their well being. There is help out there for those who need it. This is why I chose to be a director of TAPVA,” Arehart is quoted as saying on the TAP VA website.
Other members of the TAP VA Board of Directors include: De Sube, Jay Corprew, Sarah Hustead, Kat Dunleavy and Kara Allen Johnson.
The Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia – TAPVA is an all volunteer, trans led 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to end homelessness within the transgender community in Virginia. TAPVA provides educational opportunities around the important fact that trans rights are human rights by explaining the intersectionality between homelessness, discrimination, socioeconomic status and racism within the trans community in Virginia.
TAPVA’s goal is to offer safe emergency and temporary transitional housing to homeless transgender adults in Virginia, and to help them find the additional resources they need to remove the barriers to self-sufficiency while we continue to provide education surrounding the issues trans people face on a daily basis.
TAP VA is unique because it is run by the transgender community for the transgender community.