Author Archives: James Apedaile

Letter to Membership

November 20, 2016

Fellow Veterans, Service Members, Families and Allies,  

Our nation has experienced a contentious and divisive election. American Veterans for Equal Rights shares your concern that the rights we fought for and won must now be defended.

AVER fought for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell which ended the nearly century old ban against open Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual service. LGBT Americans gained national marriage equality, a freedom only dreamed of a decade ago. Our United States military opened combat positions to women, and in only the past month we saw the ban against Transgender service lifted.

AVER shares your concern that these victories are in jeopardy under a new administration hostile to our community. Those who have endured the investigations and disgrace of being discharged from our careers, who have survived the tragedy of AIDS, who have endured the denial of our relationships and the dishonoring of our families and our service, share your fears. We share a common resolve that, WE ARE NOT GOING BACK. 

Last week AVER reached out to the Trump Administration to offer our services as the nation’s LGBT Veterans Service Organization. Like many of you, we are deeply wary of this change, but we must live, and where necessary, fight in this new world. We have a Constitutional obligation to respect the office of President and a moral obligation to ensure the holder of that office is the leader of and for all Americans, not just a few.

We will continue our vigilance. We resolve never to rest as long as our rights are threatened. Our vigilance is not unfounded. Only last week the VA reversed its promise to provide gender correction surgery to heal our transgender veterans.   Our fear is real. Our fight is not over. We have come this far together. Together, we will defend the liberties we hold so precious, and we will strive to secure them for future generations of LGBT Americans. AVER, locally and nationally, will remain a safe, respectful and supportive place for all of us.

Your service, your skills, and your support, are needed today in this critical mission. Stand with us, and defend our freedoms for our fellow veterans and heroes yet to come. The need is as great now as it has ever been. Thank you for your continued support and alliance. 

On behalf of your National Board, 

Veterans Proudly serving since Valley Forge


Steve Loomis                                                                                                                                    LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired)                                                                                                                 National President                                                                                                                     American Veterans for Equal Rights                                                                                                  Email:                                                                                                                    Website:                                                                                                                        Facebook:

Words from AVER President over recent Tragic NEWS

Like many of us, I sat stunned in recent hours as the news of the death of two more black men in Louisiana and Minnesota was followed in quick order with the assassination of five Dallas Police officers and wounding of several more.  I extend personally and on behalf of American Veterans for Equal Rights my regrets at this bloodshed across our country and our prayers for all those killed and wounded, their families and friends. 

We cannot allow this thoughtless violent tit for tat to continue.  We must find an equitable resolution to the treatment of our black citizens, we must expect and make possible fair policing of our neighborhoods even as many police forces work to do so.  We must find a sensible way to judge who can and who cannot have deadly weapons, particularly those weapons of war. 

Finally, Congress cannot continue to fiddle while the burning of Rome may be beginning.  The senselessness of recent violence from many sources across our country is exceeded only by the blind in fighting of Senators and Representatives who represent our people continues on Capitol Hill.  We can only hope that those citizens and representatives of the people find a middle ground and proceed to make our country safer for all our citizens.  God Bless those who take that initiative. 

Stay safe. 

Veterans Proudly serving since Valley Forge!   

Steve Loomis

LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired)

National President

American Veterans for Equal Rights







Pentagon Announces Open Transgender Service

Pentagon Announces Open Transgender Service

June 30, 2016

On the final day of Pride Month 2016, The United States Department of Defense announced the long anticipated news that patriotic Transgender Americans will now be able to openly choose to volunteer to serve their country. Transgender Americans are twice as likely to volunteer to serve as any other group of Americans, many are currently serving. Now, finally, they will be able to serve without having to hide who they are, in pride of serving our nation.

Nearly all of our allied nations have allowed their transgender citizens to serve starting in the mid-1990s when their bans were lifted on the service of lesbian, gay and bisexual patriots. Israel was the first to lift restrictions and limitations on the service their LGBT citizens, nearly all of whom have always been required to serve, regardless of sexual orientation or gender variance. Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and European nations all included transgender service allowance along with lesbian, gay and bisexual service during the 1990s. Now, America, which taught democracy and equality to much of the world following WWII, has caught up with the wave of full equality for all those who want to courageously step forward to be among our bravest citizens.

Steve Loomis, LTC, US Army Retired, President of American Veterans For Equal Rights, said, “AVER has long supported and encouraged the right of transgender men and women to serve their country openly and with the honor they deserve.   We strongly support Secretary Carter and his plan for implementing Transgender service while ensuring the ability of our military to effectively perform its mission.”

Evan Young, Major US Army retired, President of Transgender American Veterans Association, said, “This is a historic day in the United States Military. Our nation’s military has stepped up and joined other nations in allowing transgender service members to serve openly. I am proud of the Department of Defense for allowing everyone who meets the standards to serve. We should all be judged on our merits and not on our gender identity.”

We look forward to working with DoD to assist in developing policies and regulations regarding the service and equal benefits of our patriotic volunteers.

See Secretary Carter’s Statement:

Contact: Steve Loomis, AVER President, or                                                      Denny Meyer, PAO AVER/TAVA 718 849-5665

Steve Loomis

LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired)

National President

American Veterans for Equal Rights





LGBT Veterans Stand with Orlando


June 15, 2016

An Open Letter LGBT Veterans Stand with Orlando
America was assaulted early Sunday morning as at least 49 members of our LGBT and allies community in Orlando, Florida were killed and 53 more injured in an eruption of violence against the gay community. “We all hurt because part of our community is in pain. The members of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) served our country to help protect it from senseless terrorism such as this. As veterans and active duty service members we go in harm’s way serving to protect our country, then come home only to be assaulted and cut down in our most important and representative time of the year, Pride Month,” stated Army Vietnam veteran Lieutenant Colonel Steve Loomis, National President of AVER. AVER is America’s first and oldest Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender veterans and active duty service organization.

“In a society where diversity is our destiny and our greatest strength, the hateful and divisive attitudes that have become the hallmark of political and religious rhetoric in recent years must stop. There is no justification for mass murder or those who promote it,” stated AVER President Emeritus Danny Ingram, an Army veteran.

It is an attack on every American and the multi-colored fabric that is the core of who we are as a people. All lives matter, and hateful rhetoric, regardless of how it is justified or camouflaged, ultimately leads to the type of mass murder that we have witnessed in Orlando. We have all lost because of this horrible crime and AVER calls upon every American to question the prejudiced and hurtful attitudes that demonize entire groups of people and ultimately create a destructive rationale that leads to the murder of our fellow citizens.

America succeeds by valuing and respecting the inherent dignity of every human being, not by tearing down or eliminating groups who are different. We are angry veterans as we lost one of our own citizen soldiers in Orlando and angry citizens because the hurt spreads across our country. We join as one in mourning this act of evil against our community and nation. We strengthen our common resolve to build bridges of tolerance and understanding across our country united from sea to sea as our forefathers wished.

As these cowering shadow people encourage hatred and condone violence against American citizens for whatever reason, they violate our rights, our persons and our space. The hatemongering and divisive political and religious rhetoric must stop. Political and religious leaders who encourage intolerance or acts of violence must be held accountable.

It is America’s destiny to be the most diverse society in the history of the world, extending equal rights, equal respect, and equal responsibility to every citizen. To do otherwise is in no way democracy.

Steve Loomis
LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired)
National President
American Veterans for Equal Rights

Danny Ingram
SGT, US Army Veteran
National President Emeritus
American Veterans for Equal Rights

Eric Fanning Confirmed as Secretary of the Army



Re:  Eric Fanning Confirmed as Secretary of the Army

Contact: Denny Meyer AVER Public Affairs, 718 849-5665

Eric Fanning was confirmed as Secretary of the Army by the US Senate after a considerable delay.  He is eminently qualified, having served as Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, Undersecretary and Acting Secretary of the Air Force, and has been on the job serving as Acting Secretary of the Army for nearly a year.  The fact that he is openly gay is nearly irrelevant except for LGBT Americans and particularly LGBT soldiers in the US Army who now know that they have the support of someone who knows who they are.

The immediate 8 month delay since he was appointed by President Obama was reportedly to due politics rather than prejudice.  The more than 200 year delay in American history is more significant.  He has become the highest ranking known gay American armed forces official and first known openly gay Secretary in our armed forces.  It was not that long ago that simply being gay was grounds for dishonorable dismissal from our armed forces.  And yet, gay patriots have served our nation since the Revolutionary War, starting with LTGEN Friedrich Von Steuben who trained the Continental Army and wrote the original Rules of Order and Discipline which evolved into the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  We have a proud history.  Mr. Fanning now takes his well-deserved place therein.

AVER President, LTC Steve Loomis, US Army Retired, stated, “We welcome Eric Fanning as the new Secretary of the Army.  He can now proceed with leading the Army in a very important time.  His leadership will undoubtedly be effectively for all members of our Army.  We wish him and the Army the very best.”

American Veterans For Equal Rights is America’s first national LGBT veterans’ service organization advocating for the rights and benefits of LGBT veterans and service members since 1990 –


AVER Elects Board at National Convention


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 23, 2016 Albuquerque

Contact: AVER Public Affairs, Denny Meyer 718 849-5665

Re. AVER Elects Board at National Convention

American Veterans for Equal Rights, America’s first national organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender armed forces veterans, held its biennial convention in the high desert splendor of Albuquerque New Mexico, electing a board to carry on its mission advocating and defending the rights and benefits of LGBT patriotic service members and veterans.

LTC Steve Loomis, US Army, retired, was reelected as President. Chief Julz Carey, US Coast Guard, retired, was reelected as Vice President.  Former Sergeant Danny Ingram was reelected as Treasurer, and former Staff Sergeant, James Apedaile, US Army, Retired was elected as Secretary. 

AVER’s five national regions elected Regional Vice Presidents: Former Sergeant First Class Denny Meyer in Region 1 –Northeastern US, Former Staff Sergeant, James Apedaile US Army, Retired in Region II –Southern US, former Petty Officer James Darby in Region III –Midwestern US, MAJ Dorothy Seaton, USA, Retired, Region IV –Southwestern US, and CPO Nick Jackman, USCG, Retired in Region V –Western US and HI. Denny Meyer was reappointed as national Public Affairs and Veterans Affairs Officer; Penn Baker remains national Transgender Veterans Liaison; and Patrick Bova remains as national Archivist.

The Keynote speaker at the convention was USAF Reserve General Patricia Rose; and the recipient of the Leonard Matlovich Medal was Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer, US Army, retired.

Further details about the convention will be issued shortly in a full report.