America: November 2015

2006-2015  Gay Military Signal

WHAT is a gay vet?

In mid October I was asked to give a half hour talk to select staff at a VAMC about what it means to be a Gay Vet.  I was to teach them how to be welcoming and supportive to our kind; to describe what happens when we come out to VA staff and other vets; and I was to talk about what staff can do to show that they are supportive; and among other things, tell them 'what was most helpful for LGBT vets to feel they can TRUST the VA and its staff to meet our needs?'

That last line will make a lot of folks cough and snort incredulously or bitterly.  Trust the VA?  Seriously?  Even straight vets will curl their lip and arch an eyebrow in contempt at the very idea.  I mean, just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to screw me!  Right?  None of that even has anything to do with being gay.  Being gay means that you often expect to be discriminated against.  OK, all of that is really out of date, in fact.  Only a decade ago it was a common joke that "The VA discriminates against everyone equally."  You'd walk into a clinic to 'check in' with some nasty rude clerk who glared at you and greeted you with "Yeah, what's YOUR problem? Sit down and wait!"  It went downhill from there.  All that has changed now, employees have been taught to smile and avoid the 'Polite Rudeness' schtick.  But, what about the experience of being a gay vet?

There are over one million living LGBT vets who have served with honor and distinction since WWII.


RADM Alan M. Steinman
speaks at The Citadel
The Military College of South Carolina

By Julie A. Lipovsky, Ph.D., ABPP
Assistant Provost for Diversity Initiatives
The Citadel

The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, was honored to host RADM Alan M. Steinman, USPHS/USCG (Ret.) October 7 – 8.  RADM Steinman is the most senior military officer to self-identify as gay after his retirement; he served on the Military Advisory Council for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, as an advisor for Servicemembers United and for Service Women’s Action Network. He is also a founding member of the Puget Sound Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, the nation’s LGBT veterans’ service organization.  He briefed President-elect Obama’s transition team on the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and later advised senior members of the Pentagon’s Working Group on gays in the military. And ultimately, he attended the White House to attend the Presidential Signing Ceremony repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law.

The Citadel, founded in 1842, is steeped in Southern history and military tradition. Our mission is to “educate and develop our students to become principled leaders in all walks of life by instilling the core values of The Citadel in a disciplined and intellectually challenging environment.”  Our programs are organized around three Core Values:  Honor, Duty and Respect.  We were one of the first South Carolina public institutions of higher education to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in its Notice of Nondiscrimination.


Veterans Day - Washington DC: Honoring Frank Kameny and Leonard Matlovich:
This year's LGBT Veterans Day Observance in Washington DC celebrates the 40th Anniversay of Frank Kameny & Leonard Matlovich launching the first fight against the military ban on gay service in our armed forces.  Gordon O. Tanner, out gay General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Air Force, will speak in Matlovich's honor.  A veteran's memorial for Kameny will be dedicated, and members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C. will perform. This dual event at the Congressional Cemetery is Free and open to the public. Further information and directions at:

Veterans Day Events: AMERICA - March in Pride with LGBT Vets:
Out Proud Patriots.
American veterans For Equal Rights, America's LGBT veterans' service Organization, invites service members and veterans to share the pride of our service and of who we are, and join us as we march in Veterans Day Parades across America under the American and Rainbow flags.

Gay Veterans Voice

Speaking Engagements Available

History, Humor, Pathos, and Anger


See Sgt Denny on YouTube: Nov 2011
See Sgt Denny on YouTube: Dec 2010

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