America: July 3, 2007, Vol. III, No. 1

© 2006, 2007  Gay Military Signal

The Gay Military Signal - First Anniversary Pride Edition


New York City Heritage of Pride Parade
American Veterans For Equal Rights NY contingent

What are we fighting for?


Brian Fricke

I joined the Marines in July of 2000; war was the last thing on my mind. I have always had an overwhelming desire in my heart to serve and protect, give back to a community that can only thrive when its citizens, the smaller parts, care about the whole. I was raised in a God fearing family, was in church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening and any other time the doors were open. I was not in a gay culturally friendly environment from the start, but hey, that’s not what makes children gay.

I was taught right from wrong, the value of human life and the difference between saying and doing: All as equally important.

Very much in the closet from friends and family I suppressed, unknowingly, a very important part of what makes up: me, myself and I. My identity to age 18 had been difficult to define let alone allowed to flourish. I did however concur and hold certain truths to be self evident. All men were created equal. “Created” is the key word in this Nation defining phrase. We certainly are born the same, but if not into the majority, we do not remain the same. From the beginning of the Civil Rights Era, the Majority was white and male, yet, there is more. I’m a white male, but I’m gay. I am only treated as equal, by my government, until I identify myself as no longer belonging to the majority. In fact, the majority isn’t white and male at all, its being straight. My prejudicial element, a thing about me that another human could point out and discriminate against however, could be hidden.

African Americans struggled for equal rights as human beings on the sole difference that they were a different color. Not because they were a different race, Asian or European, East or American Indian, not having a different accent or being of different religion, they were treated egregiously based on naturally born color. They couldn’t hide their discriminating factor nor should they have. It was the observer that had the problem not the subject. The Unknown Rebel at Tiananmen Square became as iconic as Rosa Parks, both taking a stand against the majority. On larger scales and on smaller scales all around the world and throughout history, but few with such irony as a gay service member in the US Armed Forces.


A salute to America's Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Veterans

Chicago’s Salute to LGBT Veterans

By RADM Alan M. Steinman

I recently had the privilege of serving as keynote speaker at a remarkable public event. On June 21 in the middle of the workday in the center of downtown Chicago (Daley Plaza), the city officially saluted the contributions and service of LGBT veterans. This was the fifth such event that Chicago has staged on our behalf. It was the original idea of Jim Darby, stalwart president of the Chicago chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) who in 2003 worked tirelessly with Chicago officials to gain recognition for LGBT veterans. Rochelle Crump, the former Director of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Veterans Affairs was instrumental in advocating for and founding this event. And it has been an annual affair every year since.

This year’s Salute was co-sponsored by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and by Log Cabin Republicans (LCR). Jean Albright from SLDN and David Valkema from LCR deserve special recognition for their efforts in making this event a success. But above all, I would like to recognize Bill Greaves of Chicago’s City Commission on Human Relations. Bill is the Director/Community Liaison for the Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, and it was upon his shoulders that Mayor Daley placed responsibility for making this event happen. Tammy Duckworth, the State of Illinois Director of Veterans’ Affairs was originally scheduled to speak at the event, but unavoidable circumstances prevented her from doing so.


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LGBT Vets Pride Events Summer 2007 - Nationwide Listings

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