Are LGBTQ+ Veterans Supported Enough?

0
41

Of the 21+ million veterans that have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, some are members of the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, this community faces difficulties while serving their country and after they return to civilian life due to homophobia and transphobia. Although there is some research on this topic, very little literature has researched how LGBTQ+ veterans are supported within veteran communities.

In a recent survey conducted by the Palm Center, it was found that of the 1,600 veteran respondents, only 26% reported that their LGBTQ+ identity was welcomed in the veteran community.

This lack of support can significantly impact the mental health of LGBTQ+ veterans. For example, a study conducted by The American Veterans (AMVETS) Foundation and The Williams Institute found that transgender veterans are at a higher risk for suicide than non-transgender veterans.

Despite these risks, some organizations work to support LGBTQ+ veterans. One such organization is OutServe-SLDN, which provides legal assistance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ service members, veterans, and their families. Another example is American Military Partner Association (AMPA), which is the nation’s largest organization for LGBTQ+ military families.

Although these organizations provide much-needed support, more work needs to be done to ensure that LGBTQ+ veterans feel welcome and supported in the veteran community. This could include more inclusive training for veteran service members and staff and education about the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ veterans. It is also essential to create safe spaces where LGBTQ+ veterans can connect with one another and share their experiences.

Fortunately, more organizations are developing targeted services for marginalized groups of vets, including women who identify as lesbian or bisexual (LGB) or queer (LGBTQ+) with PTSD, substance abuse problems, mental illness, joblessness, among many others that may affect them uniquely.

How Has History Treated LGBTQ+ Vets?

Although there is a large population of LGBTQ+ people in the military, very little has been documented about their experiences. This lack of data makes it difficult to understand how LGBTQ+ veterans have been treated throughout history.

However, a recent study conducted by Jody L. Herman, Ph.D., and Margaret Rosario, Ph.D., at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that more than half (51%) of transgender individuals had served in the U.S. Armed Forces – a higher percentage than cisgender women (48%) or cisgender men (33%).

In addition to serving in the military services themselves, some LGBTQ+ veterans have made notable contributions to military operations and conflicts throughout American History. One example is Alan Turing, who was a gay mathematician and code-breaker for the British during World War II.

LGBTQ+ veterans have often been overlooked or ignored in history despite their contributions. This is due, in part, to the fact that their sexuality and gender identity have been seen as incompatible with the military’s heteronormative culture.

The Role of Private Organizations Helping LGBTQ+ Vets

Since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011 and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, there has been a growing awareness of the needs of LGBTQ+ veterans. As a result, private organizations have developed to provide support for this community.

One such organization is OutServe-SLDN, which provides legal assistance and advocacy for LGBTQ+ service members, veterans, and their families. Another example is American Military Partner Association (AMPA), which is the nation’s largest organization for LGBTQ+ military families.

Both of these organizations provide much-needed support to LGBTQ+ veterans, but more work needs to be done to ensure that they feel welcome and supported in the veteran community. This could include more inclusive training for veteran service members and staff and education about the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ veterans. It is also vital to create safe spaces where LGBTQ+ veterans can connect with one another and share their experiences.

Fortunately, more organizations are developing targeted services for marginalized groups of vets, including women who identify as lesbian or bisexual (LGB) or queer (LGBTQ+) with PTSD, substance abuse problems, mental illness, joblessness, among many others that may affect them uniquely.

What Needs to Change?

There are many ways the veteran community can become more inclusive of LGBTQ+ veterans. One way is to provide more training for veteran service members and staff about LGBTQ+ issues. This training could include topics such as understanding gender identity and sexual orientation, recognizing discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ+ people, and knowing how to create safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

In addition to this, more organizations should create targeted services for marginalized groups of vets, including women who identify as lesbian or bisexual (LGB) or queer (LGBTQ+) with PTSD, substance abuse problems, mental illness, joblessness, among many others that may affect them uniquely.

Lastly, future research should focus on understanding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ veterans and informing policies that improve healthcare access and treatment options. Until then, we must acknowledge this mostly-unspoken population of veterans and work to better understand their experiences in order to provide support when they need it most.

The Bottom Line

LGBTQ+ veterans have made significant contributions to the military and American history, but they have often been overlooked or ignored. In order to better support this community, private organizations need to develop targeted services for LGBTQ+ veterans. Additionally, veteran service members and staff need more training on LGBTQ mental health issues. Lastly, future research should focus on understanding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ veterans and informing policies that improve healthcare access and treatment options.

ATTENTION READERS
Due to the nature of independent content, VT cannot guarantee content validity.
We ask you to Read Our Content Policy so a clear comprehension of VT's independent non-censored media is understood and given its proper place in the world of news, opinion and media.

All content is owned by author exclusively. Expressed opinions are NOT necessarily the views of VT, other authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors, partners or technicians. Some content may be satirical in nature. All images within are full responsibility of author and NOT VT.

About VT - Read Full Policy Notice - Comment Policy