Category Archives: Press Releases

Official press releases from the AVER National Public Affairs Office.

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.

 

NC, Mississippi Laws Hurt LGBT Soldiers, Marines

AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2016

RE: NC, Mississippi Laws Hurt LGBT Soldiers, Marines

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

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

US Marine Corps (USMC) Marines, 3rd Marine Regiment (MAR REGT), Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii (HI), stand at attention during the 64th commemoration of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, HI. The ceremony held annually to honor those who served during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Date Shot: 7 Dec 2005. DoD photo by: JO2 RYAN C. MCGINLEY, USN.

US Marine Corps (USMC) Marines, 3rd Marine Regiment (MAR REGT), DoD photo by: JO2 RYAN C. MCGINLEY, USN.

Atlanta, GA (APR 8, 2016) – American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans Service Organization, strongly condemns the discriminatory legislation passed by the North Carolina and Mississippi state legislatures which legalizes the denial of services to the many LGBT United States military personnel and veterans living in those states. Especially in North Carolina, home to the nation’s largest military base, Fort Bragg, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, these laws post a clear message to the honored LGBT Soldiers and Marines stationed in the state that “Your Kind Not Welcome.” The dedicated men and women who serve to defend our nation’s freedom deserve better than laws which undermine the very liberty they so faithfully protect. These laws hurt those who serve, hurt their families, and weaken communities. Such laws are unworthy of a free nation and a united people who value “liberty and justice for all.” 

 

LGBT Pride Event at Camp Lejeune

Last Thursday 30 July 2015, American Veterans for Equal Rights joined OUTSERVE for the first ever 2d Marine Logistics Group LGBT Pride Event aboard  Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The event was attended by 2d MLG Commander Brigadier General Charles G. Chiarotti and other members of his command staff. OUTSERVE members Marine SSgt Monique Clarke and  National Treasurer Jeffry Piela-Tam, US Navy Hospital Corpsman, coordinated the event for OUTSERVE. Continue reading

Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS

June 26, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

RE: Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

Atlanta, GA (JUN 26, 2015) –American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Veterans Service Organization, applauds the decision of the United States Supreme Court in extending the constitutionally mandated legal rights and protections of civil marriage to committed same-sex couples in every state of our nation. As proud military veterans who have sworn an oath to defend America’s freedom, AVER is deeply gratified that “liberty and justice for all” remains an essential element of our country’s core belief in shared equality for every citizen. This decision by the Supreme Court will extend the same benefits and privileges that are provided to the families of our honored veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs to the married spouses and children of Lesbian and Gay veterans in every part of our country, benefits from which they were previously excluded in states that did not recognize same sex marriages.

Contact:

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

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

AVER statement on the Indiana Religious Freedom Law

AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
For Immediate Release
March 27, 2015

Re: AVER statement on the Indiana Religious Freedom Law

Contact:
Denny Meyer, AVER Public Affairs, 718 849-5665
Steve Loomis, AVER President, president@aver.us

Atlanta, GA (MAR 27, 2015) –
American Veterans for Equal Rights, the nation’s LGBT Veterans Service Organization, joins other civil rights organizations in condemning the so-called “religious freedom” law enacted in Indiana. In signing a law that promotes discrimination against LGBT Americans as a “freedom,” Indiana governor Mike Pence has dishonored the sacrifices of our nation’s gay service men and women based in Indiana who place themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedom overseas and deserve better than a second class citizenship and a sign that says “your kind not welcome here.” Hatred, no matter how sanctimoniously justified, is never a virtue, and a law that promotes discrimination is distinctly unworthy of a free nation where so many patriots have given their lives in defense of “liberty and justice for all.”

aver.us

AVER Consults with Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

 

American Veterans For Equal Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AVER Consults with Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Contact:

AVER Public Affairs, Denny Meyer, 718 849 5665, publicaffairs@aver.us AVER President, Steve Loomis, LTC EN USA,(Ret.) sloomis@swcp.com 

AVER Consults with Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

by

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

18 September 2014

American Veterans for Equal Rights has again provided input on legislative issues important to LGBT Veterans to members of the United States Senate.  On September 10, 2014, I was invited to represent AVER in a meeting with the US Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee to identify the current legislative issues important to the LGBT veterans community.  AVER’s national presence once again insured us a voice at the table for LGBT veterans.

AVER’s most important tasks are Outreach to our veterans, outreach almost to daily to Congress, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, academia, media and other LGBT veteran groups.  We must regularly place our goals and concerns before our local and national agencies.  This is critical to support our veterans.  It is what Danny Ingram as our past President, and Denny Meyer as our public affairs officer have done for many years and what I have now undertaken on your behalf.

In this instance, we met in the Mansfield Room of the Capitol with fifteen Senators, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed; Senator Tammy Baldwin; a military veteran; Senator Coons of DE; Senator Udall of Colorado; and Senator Corey Booker of NJ, among others. While AVER was the only veterans’ group present, many other LGBT groups were represented including American Military Partner Association and Human Rights Campaign.

 

 

 Steve Loomis

Steve Loomis, National President of American Veterans for Equal Rights explains LGBT veterans critical legislative issues to the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee on Capitol Hill.

 

Each group identified issues important to the LGBT community nationwide. As President of AVER, our country’s first LGBT veterans group, I indicated our issues came from our members through our national board of directors.  The legislative issues important to us as LGBT veterans, were:

 

√  –  1.  That military service must be open to transgender service members by administrative or legislative changes.

 

√  –  2.  It is essential to protect our hard won right, won when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed, for all patriotic American volunteers to be allowed to serve in our nation’s armed forces regardless of sexual orientation.

 

√  –  3.  Ensure that the Veterans Administration shall consistently serve all veterans equally, with relevant and competent treatment of LGBT veterans.

 

√  –  4.  Since Equal Employment Opportunity protections do not currently cover LGBT military, such protections must be extended as a protected class to LGBT personnel serving in Department of Defense. This will provide LGBT service members access to the EEO officer inside the unit level.  Otherwise our service members must rely for protection from threat or harm on the commander who may be the source of such oppression.  The VA should then follow the lead of the DOD.

Then issues important to us as members of the larger veterans community were presented.  They are:

√  –  1.  Continue effective efforts to improve, oversee and adequately fund the Veterans Administration medical service for all veterans.

√  –  2.  Ensure Veterans Administration Medical support to our transgender veterans fully complies with the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5.

√  –  3.  Reform the rules on Military Sexual Assault as it applies to both men and women, gay and straight.  While we should not take away the commander’s review of convictions, their authority to overturn those convictions needs to be limited.

Finally, as citizens serving our country our legislative issues are;

√  –  1.  Reversing the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, in order to protect the voice of our citizens,

√  –  2.  Pass the Federal Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) with the same religious exemption of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act.  This critical LGBT protection has been delayed in Congress for over a decade.

√  –  3.  Finally, improved administrative relief for undocumented immigrants.  Over 267,000 immigrants identify as LGBT, and many are fleeing severe and deadly persecution, or seeking unification with their families.

These issues are important and favorable resolution of these issues will go a long way toward equal protection for LGBT Americans, protections that we as LGBT veterans served our country for and deserve along with all those who have gone in harm’s way for our country.

After the meeting adjourned, Senators Booker and Coons both personally approached me and asked for additional information to be provided to their staff on these issues. We will be sending letters with this information to each of the senators present and to my own New Mexico congressional delegation.  These are issues important to each of us as citizens, veterans and LGBT veterans and we should also reach out to all our members of Congress through our chapters and advocate for our issues.  It is that personal contact from their constituents in their local states that means the most and will sway them to our issues.

With the approach of AVER’s 25th Anniversary, our continued success depends very much on the support of each one of our members.  Your financial support gives us the resources to provide this type of vital input at the highest levels, and your membership allows us to speak on your behalf as the honored voices of LGBT US military veterans, a voice that is necessary to bring change not only to our veterans but our active duty service members as well.  AVER’s success depends very much on our continued outreach not only to members but to our local leaders through our chapters and to our national leaders through your National Board.  Working together we can continue to achieve progress in support of our LGBT veterans, service members, and their families.

****

Steve Loomis is the National President of American Veterans for Equal Rights, the first LGBT veterans organization. A graduate of the University of New Mexico, he served as a decorated infantry officer in Vietnam and later as an combat engineer officer.

DONATE to http://aver.us/be-involved/sponsorship

****