In April 2016, Sacramento’s organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Veterans, Servicemembers & Supporters stood down after six of service to the community. At that time, the Sacramento Valley Veterans (SVV), then a local chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), had carved out its place in the Sacramento area following years of outreach, advocacy, and camaraderie. In the time that SVV was active, the organization had become a fixture in the Sacramento Pride Parade and in the City of Sacramento’s Veterans Day activities. The SVV Color Guard represented at community events throughout the year and there was even a Veteran Service Clinic (VSC) set up for Veterans seeking help with VA claims, resources, etc.
The decision to stand down was not a decision made lightly; at the time, the organization determined it had reached its goals what with the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy and the take down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The local VA health care system had developed an LGBT Veteran Advocacy Group and there were VA claims services set up specifically for LGBT Veterans. With all the outreach making substantial services available for LGBT Veterans and their families, SVV made the call to step away from its mission and deactivate.
And then there was the drawn out and divisive election season of 2016 followed by the onboarding of a new administration…
The decision to create something for the Sacramento Valley’s LGBT Veterans, Servicemembers & Families came out of seeing the strange and alarming path the elected leadership has put the nation. In the early weeks of the new administration, campaign promises of privatizing the VA and doing away with LGBT protections loom large. As a nation, there is so much uncertainty and fear that the rights and protections afforded to our communities may be taken. Will we be ostracized and forced to hide behind closet doors again? Will DADT and DOMA return in new guises? Will we have to live in fear that all we have will be dissected and systematically removed?
The answers to these questions perhaps only come with time. To be sure, there is nothing for certain in these unsettled days. It is because of this uncertainty that a place for LGBT Veterans is needed. While SVV may not be around, there’s at least a place to go for news, information, and resources. That is the mission of this site.
This site will serve as a place of help and hopefully encouragement that you can keep your head up, that there is a place for you here. There will not be much talk of politics as there is certainly quite enough of that discourse. The voice of this site will speak on issues relevant to Veterans, the U.S. military, and the LGBT community. This isn’t an organization, it’s a resource site.
All this being said, thank you for taking the time to read this as this site serves to carry on the spirit of the Sacramento Valley Veterans. There may not be a group but there is a place for you here.