America: January 2017

2006-2017  Gay Military Signal

GayMilitarySignal@yahoo.com

Now What?

I was born just outside the gates of hell, so close that I could hear the screams of horror and smell the stench of immutable despair.  My parents were WWII Holocaust refugees.  I grew up in a refugee community, here in America, in the late 1940s and through the 1950s, speaking my parents' native language, the language of their oppressors.  They began life anew here, their American born children were their hope for the future.  Truman was president when I was born.  When I was a toddler, they taught me that 'there was nothing more precious than American Freedom.'  They taught me to always speak out in the face of oppression because the Nazis had committed genocide against our families simply because of who we were.

I remembered what they taught me; I remembered things they never told me, things they didn't want me to know about, what came before, where they came from.  They wanted me to only experience freedom.  But to know freedom, I had to know what had happened where and when it didn't exist, about the trains of cattle cars filled with our relatives on their way to the death camps of Eastern Europe, about the bombs, rubble and carnage of war, starvation, and all of that.

So, I became a civil rights activist 'speaking out in the face of oppression.'  I couldn't do otherwise, it was who I was raised to be.  I stood shirtless and shouting in the streets with my fist in the air.  As a teenager, I saw presidents Kennedy and Johnson hear our protests and lead the way to the start of human rights in this country.    As a young adult, I became a patriot as my parents had taught me to be even before I knew how to speak our American language.  They were strangers on a foreign shore, but they raised me to be an American patriot.  I volunteered to serve my country at the height of the war in Vietnam, while my fellow Americans ran away to Canada to avoid serving.  While they lied and said they were gay to avoid serving, I lied and said I was straight so I could serve.  I served ten years in the Navy and Army Reserve, leaving honorably as a Sgt First Class; me, the son of an illegal immigrant.

MORE

In the New Year

by

Steve Loomis, LTC, EN, US Army, Ret.
President, American Veterans for Equal Rights

Fellow veterans, service members, families and allies,

Now is the customary time to report on the achievements of a great year past, and to make plans for the New Year.  After our notable progress in recent years defending and advancing our LGBT rights and benefits, progress seemed likely to come to a crashing halt as a result of this past election.

In 2016 a gay Secretary of the Army was named, the Secretary of the Navy met personally with leadership of the LGBT veterans community including AVER, we completed a highly successful AVER national convention that reached out to our allies and those outside our community and the VA began a review of their policies toward LGBT veterans.  In June 2016 military policy was changed to allow open service for transgender service members; however full implementation has not yet been achieved.  Details can be reviewed at  https://www.defense.gov/News/Special-Reports/0616_transgender-policy. 

Still, we have unfinished goals.  In the highest traditions of American citizen soldiers, American Veterans for Equal Rights will support and protect equal treatment before the law, equal access to benefits, full access to voting rights, non-discrimination in civilian employment and support for the mission and goals of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Together with YOU and our allies we can and certainly will preserve and advance the equal rights of LGBT veterans and active duty service members.  Congress is unlikely to see a serious attempt to reinstate DADT since the Democrats will fight such a move and many Republicans are unwilling to take up that fight particularly in light of the successes demonstrated with open and equal service of LGBT personnel.

What we won with great difficulty, we must stand and protect, including:  DADT repeal, marriage rights, family rights, and women in all military occupations including combat.  And we have before us ongoing fights for full implementation of transgender rights to serve and to receive equal VA services and benefits.  We can and must remain vigilant and look after our brother and sister veterans and active duty warriors.  In our recent past we achieved our goals as a team.  Now, we have much to do and it requires a team willing to continue the hard work to complete and preserve our future.  That team should include YOU!

I encourage you now to join or "re-enlist" with American Veterans for Equal Rights in the fight to protect and advance our equal rights.  AVER is taking the lead as we observe and report the actions of a new administration and Congress.  We promise, when action is needed, we will get the word out and stand beside all our many veterans, active duty service members and supporters.  WE ARE NOT RETREATING, WE ARE STANDING OUR GROUND!

MORE

Gay Veterans Voice

Speaking Engagements Available


History, Humor, Pathos, and Anger

 

See Sgt Denny on YouTube: Nov 2011
See Sgt Denny on YouTube: Dec 2010

Free: Subscribe to Gay Military Signal

GMS WANTS YOUR STORY; contact us at: GayMilitarySignal@yahoo.com

Journalism Interns Wanted
by Gay Military Signal: MORE