by James Darby
AVER Region III VP
A magnificent monument honoring the service of
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender veterans is to be dedicated on
Memorial Day at the
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Chicago.
This will be the first monument in a National VA cemetery dedicated
solely to LGBT veterans by LGBT veterans.
members of the Chicago Chapter of American Veterans For Equal Rights
decided that it was time for a Monument to the Service of LGBT veterans
to be built and placed in a National Veterans Cemetery.
Over the last 3 years AVER member Stan Jenczyk worked tirelessly to
bring it to reality.
The design and the plans were placed before the membership. A final
design was agreed upon, and Stanley brought the plans out to the
Director of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. It has been a long
and arduous journey. After four long years of negotiations the
design was accepted.
The monument will be placed in a Valley of Monuments with more than a
dozen other monuments dedicated to veterans organizations. All
monuments are limited to a height of four feet. This will be the first
monument in a National VA cemetery dedicated solely to LGBT veterans by
On the Cusp of
Long ago when I was still a soldier boy, I had a
husband, much beloved. Not that we were actually married; that was
beyond imagination back then. As far as we were concerned, we
didn't need any damn piece of paper to keep us together. We had
our love and our insatiable passion for each other even after two
decades together. We'd worked out all the pragmatic domestic
details without having any official document declaring our bond.
We shared all the household expenses, we went shopping together; he
cooked, fabulously; and I washed the dishes. We talked, we argued,
then we went to bed and slept wrapped around each other, feeling ever so
safe in each other's arms. It was as simple as that.
Of course, it wasn't that simple at all. For
one thing, he was what bureaucrats called 'a resident alien.' He
was perfectly legal, he had a green card and was, in fact, a corporate
executive. But, at any time, some bigoted bureaucrat could have
decided that he didn't deserve to live here and deported him. How
would I have been able to live without him! And, of course, I was
a Sergeant First Class in the US Army with a lot of responsibility,
respect, and a security clearance.