July 26, 2016 Veterans History Project Recognizes LGBT Veterans in New Web Feature

Contact: Megan Harris (202) 707-8205; Christy Chason (202) 707-9824
Website: Speaking Out: LGBT Veterans

The Veterans History Project (VHP) has launched the next installment of its ongoing “Experiencing War” website feature. The new installment recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) veterans who served in conflicts from WWII to the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Speaking Out: LGBT Veterans” not only illustrates these veterans’ experiences during their military service, but in the case of some – such as Frank Kameny, Brenda Vosbein and Miriam Ben-Shalom – their post-service advocacy on behalf of LGBT veterans and individuals.

Spotlighted is U.S. Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith, the first openly gay flag officer. Smith describes the atmosphere in the Army in the 1990s, when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) was policy, and what it was like to be a woman in a company command position among men who mistook her for being a “personnel officer” because she was female.

Smith previously participated in a VHP Panel Discussion, “Breaking the Silence: Our Military Stories” in June 2014 that focused on such topics as pre- and post-DADT repeal and experiences, the current status of LGBT equality in the U.S. military, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 as it relates to military families and the current ban on transgender service members. The presentation presentation may be viewed on the Library’s website.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 1 million veterans identify as LGBT. As with all participating veterans, VHP encourages LGBT veterans to self-identify when contributing their narrative. By doing so, historic evidence of their personal experiences will not be lost, and a fuller picture of American service during conflict can be reflected.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of America’s war veterans from WWI through the current conflicts, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. For more information, visit this site or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news.

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PR 16-116
ISSN 0731-3527