Video: Members Respond to Transgender Service

“The President’s unilateral action concerning transgender service members is insulting to some of our most capable service members and disrespectful to the leadership of our military. Without full consultation, a President who never served our country has taken an action that discriminates without factual foundation. Transgender members are already and have always been part of some of our most combat ready units without difficulty for decades and will continue to be in the future. As long as any soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coast guards man has the physical and mental ability, they must be allowed to serve in the defense of our country.”

AVER has created a video expressing their anger and concerns. Click below:

Transgender Fight Back

 

Trump Tweets Ban Transgender Service

AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 26, 2017

RE: Trump Tweets Ban Transgender Service

Contact:

AVER Public Affairs, Denny Meyer 718.849.5665 publicaffairs@aver.us

AVER President, Steve Loomis, LTC, USA, (Ret) 505.301.1737

Atlanta, GA (JUL 26, 2017) – American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) is astonished by President Trump’s statements this morning prohibiting transgender Americans from serving our country in the US military. On the very anniversary, July 26, 1948, that President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to end racial segregation in our US military, President Donald J. Trump issues tweets to bar transgender service members from serving in our same US armed forces. Such an incredible twist of fate in history! One opens doors to liberty. One slams them shut.

“The President’s unilateral action concerning transgender service members is insulting to some of our most capable service members and disrespectful to the leadership of our military. Without full consultation, a President who never served our country has taken an action that discriminates without factual foundation. Transgender members are already and have always been part of some of our most combat ready units without difficulty for decades and will continue to be in the future. As long as any soldier, sailor, marine, airman or coast guards man has the physical and mental ability, they must be allowed to serve in the defense of our country.”

Current policies require that transgender recruits must complete gender transition before they can enter the military. Mr. Trump is simply denying entry into the military to capable male and female volunteers no different from any other man or woman. The citizens of the United States require a military governed by carefully considered policies and not by early morning tweet storms from a President who neither understands the current policy nor cares about the human cost of defending our nation’s liberty. We defend transgender service members right to serve!

USAF Master Sargent Leah Messer (left with US flag), a 15-year transgender veteran of the United States Air Force, would lose her job if Donald Trump’s tweets become policy.

 

Pride Month Memories

Pride Month Memories

by Denny Meyer

At the nexus of Memorial Day and the start of Pride month, I began again to think about and remember my own personal gay military heroes who inspired me and must never be forgotten as we celebrate our pride in our service and of who we are.

World War II

PFC Frank Kameny, USA 1925 – 2011

   
Franklin Kameny, PhD, served in combat in Europe as a teenager in WWII.  He earned a doctorate degree in astronomy at Harvard.  In 1957 he was fired from a government job when he was found to be homosexual.  He spent the next 50 years fighting for gay rights.

Korean Era LTJG Harvey Milk, USN 1930 – 1978

 
Harvey Milk served in the US Navy aboard a submarine and in San Diego during the Korean War Era. Later, in NYC he worked on Wall St.  He was assassinated after having been the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco and CA, courageously leading the fight for our rights.

Vietnam TechSgt Leonard Matlovich, USAF 1943 – 1988

Leonard Matlovich served 12 sterling years in the Air Force, earning a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his courage and valor in Vietnam.  He sacrificed his career for our freedom when he came out publicly in a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force in 1974.  He was discharged, sued and eventually won.  He died of AIDS in 1988.  His gravestone at the Congressional Cemetery is inscribed, “A Gay Vietnam Veteran.  When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.”

Afghanistan CPL Andrew Wilfahrt, USA 1980- 2011

 
Andrew Wilfahrt sacrificed his freedom, and ultimately his life, in order to give meaning and purpose to his life as a gay American.  He never hid who he was, not from his family, not from his fellow troops.  Killed while on foot patrol outside Kandahar, he is the first ‘known’ gay casualty of Operation Enduring Freedom.

There are so many others, known and unknown, for us to remember in this Pride Month as we celebrate the freedom we have gained and dedicate ourselves to demanding full equality.

My first military hero wasn’t gay.  He was my personal hero long before I’d ever heard of those mentioned above.  His famous words inspired me to volunteer to serve for a decade, despite being gay: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”  Those words still inspire me today.

USN LT John F Kenndy, WWII As Commander of PT 109 in the South Pacific, fought the pain of a back injury and exhaustion to assure the rescue of his marooned crew. 35th President of the United States of America.

-Denny Meyer, fmr SFC USAR

Monument Vandalized

The American Veterans for Equal Rights monument located in the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Chicago has been desecrated. Clearly there are Americans who think it is admirable to dishonor the service and sacrifice of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender men and women who have served and sacrificed to defend our nation’s freedom. Hate is not a virtue. Vandalism is not a courageous act. Violence against anyone is inexcusable. And the blatant and direct labeling of any person or group of people as “not even human” is the symptom of a divisive disease that eats away at the foundations of this great nation and makes us deeply vulnerable to the attacks of those who wish to destroy our democratic way of life and our efforts to expand the values of freedom to oppressed people worldwide. This must stop. America’s enemies contribute to and take great joy in our attacks on each other. If there is any group of patriots over which the American people can come together it is those individuals who volunteer to defend our freedom in the United States Armed Forces. An attack on any veteran must be seen as an attack on the things which we value most: service, honor, duty. Shame on these cowards. You are completely unworthy of the sacrifices made to defend your right to free speech. You desecrate our nation;s sacred honor.

Danny Ingram, National President Emeritus
American Veterans for Equal Rights

In Memory of Chief Donovan

James P. DonovanChief Jim Donovan, former National President of American Veterans for Equal Rights, has died at the age of 74.  Chief Donovan served longer on AVER’s national board than almost any other officer.  Chief retired from the United States Navy with over 20 years of service.  His legacy is the right of LGBT patriots to serve in the United States Armed Forces, a freedom for which he fought for many years.  Fair winds and following seas Chief Donovan.  We love you.

To View his Obituary and leave a message to his family and Partner of over 40 years David you can click here: James Patrick Donovan donovan-jim

For more information about the legacy Chief Donovan leaves behind please find the GMS article Denny Meyer wrote about him in 2007, with lots of quotes directly from him.  See the article at http://www.gaymilitarysignal.com/070911Donovan.html