America: Spring 2016

2006-2016  Gay Military Signal

 Margarethe Cammermeyer
to Receive Matlovich Medal
at AVER Convention in April

AVER, Atlanta, GA (MAR 16, 2016) – Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, the highest ranking active officer to challenge the US military’s ban on LGBT service members, will be presented the 2016 Leonard Matlovich Medal for Distinguished Service by American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Veterans Service Organization.  The Medal will be presented to Dr. Cammermeyer at AVER’s 25th anniversary national convention to be held April 21-24, 2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Cammermeyer, a Vietnam Veteran, was discharged from the US Army in 1992 following her disclosure during a 1989 security clearance interview that she is a lesbian.  Her discharge was overturned subsequent to a civil suit and Colonel Cammermeyer became one of the first openly serving LGBT military officers until her retirement in 1997.  The ban was repealed in 2010. 

The Matlovich Medal is the highest honor awarded by AVER and is named for USAF TechSgt Leonard Matlovich who was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight the ban on LGBT service members, and became one of the best known LGBT activists in America in the 1970s.  Past recipients of the Matlovich Medal include President Barack Obama, Admiral Mike Mullen, and gay activist Dr. Frank Kameny, a World War II veteran and founder of the modern LGBT civil rights movement. 

For more information on the 2016 AVER convention please visit the website located at AVER National Convention 2016. 


A Commitment to Diversity
from the Secretary of the Navy

by Evan Young, MAJ, US Army, Ret.
President, Transgender
American Veterans Assn.

This article was originally
published on the TAVA website.

Arriving at the Secretary of the Navy’s Conference room, I had already had a feeling that this was something special. It was a meeting of the minds to discuss something near and dear to my heart: diversity and inclusion. Arriving a little early, I watched as the team prepared the conference room, placing the flag shaped coins of the Secretary of the Navy on each of the assigned seats.

My years in the military had not lead me to the Pentagon, and stepping into the vastness of the halls of the Pentagon with historic paintings and memorabilia lining the walls sent a sense of awe and wonderment running through my body. As I walked the hall with my escort, who was a member of the Service Members, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A), and another invited guest representing the LGBT Bar Association, Paula Niera, I felt pride that transgender service members and veterans were flourishing in the ranks right here in the Pentagon. I thought of the thousands of transgender service members serving with honor and pride across the globe, excelling in their field despite the anguish and discrimination that they faced on a daily basis. Yet, here I was in the Pentagon to discuss diversity and inclusion. Such a long ways we have come.

By virtue of my position as the National President of the Transgender American Veterans Association, I was invited to the Pentagon for a discussion on the re-affirmation of the Secretary of the Navy’s diversity and inclusion policy, which had not been revisited since 2010.

Paula Coffer

MAJ, U.S. Army, Ret.

I preface my remarks by stating that transgender men and women have always served honorably in the US Military. Many highly talented and effective soldiers, sailors and airmen have left the military to pursue living life in their appropriate gender. Recent changes to the law have benefited the military services as these talented and skilled individuals can now serve with distinction after gender transition while serving in uniform. Had the opportunity been available to me in 1994 to transition in uniform I would have remained on active duty to continue serving my country.

As a child of about 4 years old I realized that I was not like other little boys but I had no understanding as to why. When I questioned my parents I was physically beaten and quickly realized that these feelings inside were to be kept suppressed – inside of my mind and never to be expressed again. Being aware of my inner feelings I developed a strong imagination to deal with the mixed messages I was receiving. I wanted to participate with the girls but was expected and demanded to participate with the boys. I developed a sense of ambition and mental strength to overcome my inner feelings, to appear as normal as possible. My goal was to excel to prove I was just as accomplished as the other little boys. I only accomplished a sense of suppression of my inner feelings for limited periods of time. I cannot effectively express the mental turmoil my life endured until I was able to transition at the age of 41.

A brief introduction to politically correct transgender
terminology as applied to military personnel and veterans

Gay Veterans Voice

Speaking Engagements Available

History, Humor, Pathos, and Anger


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