There’s no question 2019 has been a challenging year. But since AMPA and OutServe-SLDN merged this past May to form MMAA, our team has been working nonstop to advance fairness and equality for the LGBTQ military and veteran community. And our hard work is making a real difference.
With lawsuits challenging the transgender military ban and outdated policies harming servicemembers living with HIV, we are on the front lines in the fight for LGBTQ military equality. We are also fighting back against assaults on the progress we’ve made.
In cases ranging from issues affecting veterans to DACA recipients, we filed several important briefs with the courts, including a brief with the Supreme Court in three cases that could determine whether LGBTQ people are protected under current federal civil rights law. We made sure the courts know the outcome of these cases could cause severe harm to our military families.
We were so proud to award eight incredible military spouses with our 2019 Military Spouse Scholarship, presented by Hilton. We also kicked off our groundbreaking new survey of the LGBTQ military and veteran community and launched our inaugural Rainbow Shield certification training, helping to bridge the gap in LGBTQ cultural competency for military and veteran advocates and service providers. We even had the privilege to train the entire New York State Division of Veterans’ Services.
We claimed victory in New York and Rhode Island, where governors signed into law legislation restoring honor to veterans discharged due to discriminatory laws like the former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” And our team has been busy lifting up the stories of our community and assisting LGBTQ service members, veterans and their families with legal advice and discharge upgrades.
Most importantly, we’re giving a voice to the LGBTQ military and veteran community. Thanks to our team’s undying commitment to our mission, we’re making sure Members of Congress, officials at the Pentagon and VA, journalists and members of the media, and the public at large have a better perspective on the unique challenges our community is facing.
We’re proud of our work, and we hope you’ll join us in our fight as we move into the new year. Together, we’ll ensure we continue our march toward fairness and equality.