The Los Angeles LGBT Center will host its next “Stand Down” for veterans and active service members on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Center’s Anita May Rosenstein Campus. A color guard procession will officially open the “Stand Down.”
With more than 30 organizations for veterans and seniors participating, the event provides free services and referrals in various areas, including VA enrollment, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, CalVets benefits, VA benefits, education, housing, legal, employment, medical, mental health and social services. The fair is open to all veterans and active service members and is not limited to the LGBT veteran community.
In 1993, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law barred openly LGBT persons from military service. When it was officially repealed in 2011, many service members who were dishonorably discharged due to their sexual orientation became eligible for benefits, yet many of them, traumatized from their experiences, opted out of accessing VA services.
“Our ‘Stand Downs’ create a safe environment for all who served, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and connects them with peers and allies who have shared similar experiences during their service. So far, we have assisted nearly 300 veterans and active service members,” said Yelba Carrillo, manager of social services for the center’s senior services. “The resources provided at our ‘Stand Downs’ help our veterans obtain the quality of life they deserve.”
LGBT veterans and active servicemembers attending the “Stand Down” are invited to be interviewed for a film depicting their unique perspectives related to serving in the U.S. military. The film, tentatively titled “My Service, My Story,” is being produced by participants in the Center’s LGBT Senior Veterans initiative, a program that offers case management, support groups and social activities and serves as a bridge between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and LGBT seniors who suffered discrimination in the military. The film will be screened at a Veterans Day event in November, be submitted to film festivals and posted on the center’s YouTube channel.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center Anita May Rosenstein Campus is located at 1118 N. McCadden Place. For information, visit lalgbtcenter.org.
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