“Sexual orientation doesn’t matter when the enemy is aiming at us. It’s about our common oath. I am just like you.” – Eric Alva
On September 20, 2011, the US military repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, allowing lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) service members to serve openly. Though an important step, it’s only the beginning. While the policy change pushes us forward, a more complex and demanding cultural change lies ahead. Ongoing harassment, discrimination, and even violence characterized the experience of many LGB service members throughout US military history, forcing many to hide their true identity in an attempt to protect themselves. Until 1993, laws barred incoming service members who admitted homosexual experiences from serving. Military intelligence officers routinely investigated and pursued suspected homosexuals – with humiliating and painful consequences. In 1993, DADT was created as a step towards open service. Unfortunately, it failed to improve the experiences and daily lives of LGB service members.
LGB service members and veterans deserve acceptance and equal treatment. Many of them have endured years of mental and emotional stress – all while serving our country. Our research tells us that it will take at least 3-5 years to achieve acceptance and equality for LGB service members. We provide direct support to LGB service members past, present and future. From resources, support groups and referrals to low/no cost counselors outside those provided by the military or VA, our goal is to help foster healing and self-acceptance. We also provide ongoing training to current and future military leadership on the acceptance of LGB service members.