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Honor Our LGBT Veterans

Contributed by Luca Maurer on 11/04/2005 

The Urban Institute estimates there are more than 1 million lesbian and gay veterans currently living in the United States. An additional 65,000 are currently serving on active duty, in the National Guard, and Reserves.

As Veterans Day approaches, read stories of LGBT veterans, or share your own on the Human Rights Campaign site.

The Human Rights Campaign, in collaboration with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) join in recognizing the contributions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender veterans through the project "Documenting Courage: Veterans Speak Out."

AVER is also organizing a Coming Out campaign for veterans, 11 October through 11 November. An article about the significance of this campaign for college students may be found here: National Veterans Day Coming Out Day.

Resources and referral for those currently serving: Service Members Legal Defense Network.

Honor Our LGBT Veterans | 8 Comments |
The following comments are the opinions of the individuals who posted them. They do not necessarily represent the position of Intercom or Ithaca College, and the editors reserve the right to monitor and delete comments that violate College policies.
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Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from pphelps on 11/07/2005
As committee co-chair of the IC Veterans Day Celebration Committee I am OUTRAGED at the defacing of the American Flag on your post.

My respect for your organization and beliefs just hit bottom.

Patricia Phelps
School of Music
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from lspencer on 11/07/2005
As a mom of a son who is serving in the Army National Guard, I am appalled at the lack of respect the LGBT organization has shown by the mis-representation of the American flag, which was displayed in the intercom announcement. One of the things any person learns when entering the military is the use of the flag and the respect it deserves. I would hope that even the gay and lesbian veterans are as disturbed as I am. The military was in the past and is currently now made up of a widely diverse group of individuals - whether it is a difference in religion, gender, race, or lifestyle. Why then, the separate recognition and celebration for gay and lesbian veterans?
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from iscott on 11/07/2005
As co-chair of the IC Veterans Day Celebration Committee, I too am disturbed by the lack of respect the LGBT organization has shown the American flag by displaying a ‘manipulated’ version of it in the Intercom announcement. My father was a WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient. The United States flag has always meant a lot to our family; it represents freedom and hope – the two primary reasons my grandparents immigrated to this country to escape a Fascist dictatorship, and the two main reasons my father went to war - willingly - to protect a way of life we all take for granted. If I were to distort or misrepresent the LBGT rainbow flag in an Intercom announcement, would you not complain? Would it even be allowed to be posted? So why to the same to the American flag?
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from rplante on 11/07/2005
I'm not convinced that there is any malicious intent here. The flag, which
appears to have been created by a larger, national organization, appears
to be intended to clarify that LGBT people are also part of this "one
nation, under God." [The person who contributed this item is out of town
at a conference and will probably be able to address this further upon
returning to Ithaca next week.] As to why there would be 'separate' notice
of LGBT people who are veterans/currently serving, it seems fairly simple:
don't ask, don't tell. Though African-Americans were discriminated against
in the military when they were first enlisted, there was no such attempt to
keep their race under wraps. For LGBT people, serving has meant having
to keep sexuality and relationships completely hidden, so this specific
commemoration is meant to highlight that, in spite of 'don't ask, don't
tell,' LGBT have been and will continue to be contributing to the American
military. (And for the sake of point of view, let me add that I come from
a family of 10 veterans on one side and 3 on the other.)
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from pphelps on 11/07/2005
FYI:

From the United States Code, title 36, chapter 10 §176. Respect for flag
(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or
drawing of any nature.

(i) The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions
or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and
discard. Advertising signs should not be fastened to a staff or halyard from which the flag is flown.

New York
The State of New York makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to use the U.S. flag for advertising or publicity purposes. [N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law Sec.
136]
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from lrankins on 11/08/2005
Many individuals in our Armed Forces aspire to obtain the "freedom and hope" an earlier writer suggested our flag represents. Indeed, I too believe it represents the same; however, there remains a large chasm between what it represents and what many individuals (in this context, members of our Armed Forces) are able to achieve.

Truly, as another writer noted, the Armed Forces are comprised of "a widely diverse group of individuals." Unfortunatley the voices of one group have not been allowed the basic freedoms so many others have fought, and continue to fight, to obtain.

Indeed, while I believe in the value of honoring the flag (re: U.S. Code...), I do not believe it is to be honored more than the people who defend the nation it represents. I applaud the Coordinator of the LGBT office for assuming the responsibilty of giving a voice to those who have been silenced.

I am a veteran and gay; I am proud of the many years of service I gave to our country and I am not offended by this representation of the flag, but thankful that others choose to not remain silent.
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from lmaurer on 11/09/2005
For more information about the long history of this particular flag, please visit http://flagspot.net/flags/us_gay.html
The flag is offered - alongside US flags - in the catalogs of fine suppliers of flags throughout the country.
Honor Our LGBT Veterans Comment from lsagan on 11/10/2005
Pixel tweaking pales in comparison to the treatment of our fellow citizens. Those who choose to serve in the military, in spite of the blatant anti-gay atmosphere there and in society in general, should be applauded.

They must have a great deal of hope for the future of our nation to risk their lives for it while it still treats them so shabbily.