A big thanks to all veterans for your service and the sacrifices you and your families have had to make. For Veteran’s Day and any day, here are some ways the rest of us can support veterans, LGBTQ and not. (Me? I’m making my veteran spouse an especially nice dinner tonight.)
This is a slightly revised version of a list I published last year; despite the pandemic (and perhaps especially because of it), showing our support for veterans is as important as ever.
- Thank the veterans you know, whether it’s an older relative who served in World War II or someone who has served more recently.
- Learn their stories.
- If you know any veterans personally, ask them about their service—though be respectful if they would rather not discuss what might have been traumatic experiences.
- Watch today’s special online screening by the LA LGBT Center of Our Service, Our Stories, a short film developed, filmed, and edited by LGBT Veterans.
- The Modern Military Association of America, which serves LGBTQ service members, veterans, and their families, publishes a magazine of stories and news for and about LGBTQ military families. Go read a few stories to learn more about the joys and challenges of military life.
- GLAD Legal Advocates & Defenders, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Trans People of Color Coalition and SPART*A have partnered to highlight the stories of transgender veterans and service members of color.
- Read about a transgender American hero of the Civil War, in a picture book published earlier this year.
- Beyond the LGBTQ community, check out the Veterans History Project from the Library of Congress.
- Support a veterans’ organization. In addition to the Modern Military Association of America, you might consider SPART*A, the nation’s leading transgender military service organization, American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), or some not-LGBTQ-specific ones listed at Military.com. (As always, do your own research on any organization before donating.)
- Take a veteran out for a meal or shopping, if you can practice appropriate social distancing. Many restaurants and stores have special discounts for them today—but any other day works, too.
- Educate yourself on how the Veterans Administration is still falling short on health care for LGBTQ veterans, according to a recent report.
- Remember that an estimated 134,000 American veterans are transgender, and over 15,000 trans people are serving in military today, even as President Trump is trying to deny them the right to do so. Learn more from the National Center for Transgender Equality as well as from GLAD and NCLR. Yes, Joe Biden has said he will reverse the ban, but I think it’s important we all understand what the impact of the ban has been on transgender service members and their families.