I was privileged to join a distinguished group of speakers for a Veterans Day celebration hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of New York City on Friday night. As the sun went down on the first Veterans Day since the repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law, our spirits were lifted by a program that included the NYC Gay Men’s Chorus and remarks by representatives from American Veterans for Equal Rights, OutServe, Knights Out, and Service Women’s Action Network.
I was proud to share the story of my Dad, a Vietnam veteran who came back to a country very divided about his service. I was equally proud to tell the 150 or so gathered about how much my experience working with the brave LGBT service members with whom I have come in contact at SLDN has heightened by own appreciation for the unique sacrifices our veterans have made to keep our nation safe throughout the generations.
And while everyone had a personal and compelling story to share about how they had been impacted by the men and women who serve our country, there was one theme that each speaker came back to over and over again. And that is, when it comes to the job of securing full equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters in the military, there is more work to be done.
So, even as we paused to reflect and honor our nation’s great patriots, we recommitted ourselves to continuing this fight – to winning full recognition, benefits, and support for all military families; to advocating effective DADT implementation and protecting service members from discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and to ensuring that, once and for all, our military is a welcoming place for all qualified patriots who wish to serve the country they love.
11-14-11 By Zeke Stokes, SLDN Communications Director |