Veterans deserve so much more, gay or straight.
According to ABC News, an estimated 100,000 servicemen (and servicewomen) have been discharged from the armed forces due to “homosexual conduct” since World War II. During the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell regime from 1994 to 2011, about 10-15,000 servicemen were kicked out for implied homosexuality.
Nice treatment for those willing to risk their lives for our safety, right?
Because of these dismissals, thousands of veterans are not able to collect on their promised benefits including health services, loans and college tuition. Luckily, due in part to the Biden Administration, a committee was formed to re-evaluate discharge records in an aim to set the record… straight, meaning that being discharged for being gay will no longer be upheld in court.
Thank you to the Veterans Equality Review Board and Army Reservist Dr. Jon Santiago for leading this charge and doing right by our veterans. It’s certainly long overdue.
Dana Montalto, an instructor at the Veterans Legal Clinic, tells ABC News:
It is lifesaving for veterans to have access to some of these programs, especially those who have experienced harm during their service, and to deny them access to these benefits, that’s a huge problem and something that we really need to fix.
As well, states – including Massachusetts – are already starting the re-evaluation process on a regional level instead of waiting for a federal overhaul. If you’re reading this and were dishonorably discharged for being gay, all you need to do is contact one of the establishments named above.
According to Mission Roll Call, it’s estimated that almost 100 veterans take their lives each day. There’s no need to include a statistic for gay servicemen, as this number is already startling and upsetting on its own. I’m glad that some of our community members are starting to get the benefits they deserve, and in return can have access to better health services.