Category Archives: Veterans Affairs

Information from AVER’s Vice President of Veterans Affairs

Gay Man Nominated for Secretary of the Army


For Immediate Release Re: Gay Man Nominated for Secretary of the Army

President Obama has nominated Eric Fanning to be the new Secretary of the Army. If confirmed, he will be the first openly gay secretary of any service.

Mr. Fanning is currently serving as the acting Secretary of the Army. He has served in positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Navy and Air Force offices, and is well respected in the Pentagon.

LTC(R) Steve Loomis, national president of the American Veterans for Equal Rights welcomes Mr. Fanning’s nomination to this key position of leadership in our Army. “Eric Fanning is a highly capable and experienced person to lead our Army. While he is not the first gay person in positions of responsibility in the Pentagon, he is exceedingly qualified for this important top position. We offer our full support and wish him the best in his leadership of our largest military service.”

“This nomination demonstrates President Obama’s continuing commitment to our LGBT community,” said Danny Ingram, AVER past national president. “A review of Fanning’s extensive service in the Pentagon shows that he is imminently qualified to become the nation’s next Secretary of the Army. While AVER is extremely happy to see this nomination, the fact that he is a gay man is no more a factor for his selection than his race, age, or gender.”

AVER is America’s first gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans and active duty service organization.

Contact information: AVER President: Steve Loomis, LTC, EN, U.S. Army (Retired) 505-301-1737,

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



Veterans Crisis Line: Helping ALL Who Served

Veterans Crisis Line Helping ALL who served

By Denny Meyer

Veterans Affairs Officer American Veterans for Equal Rights and Transgender American Veterans Association

Earlier this year I received a routine promotional e mail from the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), reminding me as a veterans’ advocate that VCL is the VA’s front line of defense against veterans’ suicide, PTSD based personal crises, and other emergencies that constantly confront our nations’ 30 million+ veterans. Knowing that well over one million of those living vets who served from WWII to the present, including me, are LGBT, I wondered how well prepared the Veterans Crisis Line is in serving us.

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Transgender Veteran Survey being conducted by US Dept of Veterans Affairs

Transgender Veterans Research
The Veterans Administration, via the Puget Sound VA, is conducting one of the first VA research projects regarding Transgender Veterans, in order to be able to provide better, relevant, and more competent service.  The questionnaire is lengthy and could cause some stress for individual veterans; but we believe that the potential for directly informing the VA and for improved VA treatment makes participation worthwhile.  See below.

Seeking transgender individuals who served in the military!

Are you MTF, FTM, or any other gender that is different from your birth sex? Did you previously serve in the military? If so, we invite you to participate in a study focusing on your life experiences as a transgender Veteran and the challenges you may have faced. 

The goal of the Transgender Veteran Survey is to better understand the specific experiences of transgender Veterans and promote their health and well-being. We are especially interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.

This is an anonymous, web-based survey that may take approximately 1 hour to complete, and is conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. For more information, please go to, or contact the Transgender Veteran Survey staff at (206) 277-1511

Veterans Affairs

AVER Veterans Affairs is dedicated to advocating and serving the needs of America’s LGBT armed forces veterans with information, referral, and limited legal consultation regarding VA benefits claims.

Individual Inquiries:

If you have specific questions about veterans benefits eligibility or your rights as an LGBT American armed forces veteran, you may contact us directly and we will do our best to provide information and referral and point you in the right direction to resolve your issues.  Please contact us at
Please note that we are not able to provide immediate or emergency assistance.

Legal Consultation:

AVER Veterans Affairs is offering limited legal consultation to LGBT
Veterans with VA Claims issues. Rochelle Richardson, Principal Attorney at Rochelle E. Richardson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, is a VA accredited attorney, and provides representation to veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, nationwide, in their claims for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. As her time permits, referrals will be made to Ms. Richardson for veterans to consult with her on VA claims issues. Ms. Richardson, a veteran, has volunteered to provide this limited service to AVER.  Please contact AVER Veterans Affairs at  This is not an emergency service.

LGBT Veterans Benefits E-Mail Discussion Group:

The AVERvetsBenefits e-mail discussion group is for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender veterans to share information on issues of specific concern to them as LGBT veterans, e.g., service discharge upgrades, VA health services for HIV/AIDS, same-sex partner issues at VA, etc. Click here to join the group.

Liaison with LGBT Organizations:

AVER Veterans Affairs maintains liaison and coordination with other LGBT service organizations such as TAVA (Transgender American Veterans Association), OutServe (the active duty LGBT service organization), S.W.A.N. (Service Women’s Action Network), SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), among others; serving on committees and boards, and participating in forums and conferences regarding the rights and needs of LGBT service members.

We maintain particularly close coordination with TAVA regarding Transgender veterans receiving respectful, dignified, and sensitive treatment at VA facilities in accordance with a 2011 VA directive concerning the treatment of Transgender veterans.

AVER Veterans Affairs has liaison with the Veterans Administration and has provided consultation to Pentagon personnel regarding the survey and transition process to open service.

AVER Veterans Affairs has particularly participated in and or coordinated conferences, articles, and discussions regarding VA treatment of HIV/AIDS and PTSD in LGBT veterans.

AVER Veterans Affairs is engaged in an ongoing aggressive campaign to establish and secure the rights of LGBT service members and veterans. At the national and local level, via AVER chapters, we continually write letters to editors of gay and mainstream media, promote and endorse LGBT rights legislation, participate in efforts to keep VA hospitals open, and regularly liaison with elected officials and political candidates.


The AVER Veterans Affairs Committee brings together lawyers, social workers, psychologists, therapists, VSOs and others involved in direct service with LGBT vets for discussion, consultation, and referral. To inquire about participation in the AVER Veterans Affairs Committee, please contact

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Useful Toll-Free Telephone Numbers

Department of Veterans Affairs 1-800-827-1000
Veterans Health Administration 1-877-222-8387
Veterans Benefits Administration 1-800-827-1000