I remember walking down the streets of Knoxville, Tenn. in 1995 and being approached by armed forces recruitment officers. They would usually have a catchy opener and then launch into their sales pitch about the benefits of serving my country. This was right in the thick of my strident coming out period, so we always ended on that note. I was gay and not willing to compromise that part of my life.
My father was an Air Force officer, so the armed forces was always on my radar as a possibility, but when the age and circumstances came about during which I could enlist, my sexuality was the journey that had priority. I admire the discipline of the military and believe in its value in transforming lives, so I was very pleased to see the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) in 2011.
With Veterans Day having just passed, I want to reflect on nonprofits for our LGBT service members, veterans and their families.
The first organization is called the Military Acceptance Project (MAP, militaryacceptanceproject.org), an advocacy group for demographics that have historically faced discrimination within the military for reasons of gender, religion, race or sexual orientation. Their slogan “Acceptance is Mission Critical” encapsulates the mission of this agency.
Read the full column in SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego HERE.