SACRAMENTO VALLEY VETERANS (SVV) is a chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).
American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) is a non-profit, chapter-based association of active, reserve and veteran servicemembers dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Preamble to the National Constitution of American Veterans For Equal Rights
Throughout our history, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirit Americans served in the Armed Forces. They took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies both foreign and domestic. We aver that it is the right of these Americans to express personal aspects of their lives, and, in particular, aspects of their sexual orientation and/or gender identification. Furthermore, they should be allowed to do this in an environment free from harassment and discrimination based on prejudice, fear, ignorance, or intolerance in order to fulfill their human potential to the fullest.
Working as individuals or in cohesive units with others while serving our country in either war or peace our members have accumulated distinguished records of military service that demonstrate a resolve and a commitment to cherished American ideals. We are active duty personnel, reservists, and veterans of the United States Air Force, Army, Army Air Corps, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, and Navy, or any reserve components thereof, or the various State Militia. In pursuit of common goals we proudly join together as the American Veterans for Equal Rights.
Be a part of history….
We all know that at some point the Ban against Gays and Lesbians in the military will be overturned. American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER)* has been working for twelve years to achieve this goal. Although we have suffered many setbacks, and lost a few battles, there have been some significant victories. None of this could have been done without the support of people like you. The military, and the federal government have never been interested in just giving us the same rights that everyone else in this country enjoy. We have had to fight them at every turn. We will continue to keep the pressure on until we get our rights as American citizens.
Gays and Lesbians in this country enjoy a freedom today that was unimaginable just 25 years ago. Thanks to organizations like ACLU, Lambda, HRC, NGLTF and others we have national support for our cause. Thanks to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Military Law Task Force, Gays and Lesbians have somewhere to turn to for legal assistance. The next time you are writing out a check to a charitable organization please consider giving something to one of these organizations.
But don’t forget us. American Veterans for Equal Rights, Inc. We are America’s “Unwanted Warriors.” How could there be Gay and Lesbian veterans if there never were gay men and lesbians who served in the military? Well, we did serve, along with thousands of others as long as there has been a military in this country. Unfortunately we have fought and served honorably and died for this country without ever getting the recognition that we deserved. Pick up your old history book and reread the chapters about Alexander the Great, Alexander Hamilton, General von Steuben, Capt. Richard Decatur, and many, many others. Why has it always been so difficult for historians to tell the truth about these great Americans? Why is it so difficult even today for the military to acknowledge us? If they “don’t ask” and we “don’t tell,” then where does it leave us?
Don’t forget us. We are the living proof. We are out there speaking for our brothers and sisters in uniform who may not speak out. We are out there at every possible Veterans function letting them know who we are. We have visited countless State Representative’s offices across this country to let them know that they have Gays and Lesbians in their district who served in the military – and who vote. We have gone out to schools, colleges and community forums to educate young people about us. On many occasions we have confronted the Religious Right with the mirror of truth. We have worked with all kinds of veterans, counseling, assisting and comforting them.
Don’t forget us. We are a grass roots, all volunteer, unpaid group of veterans who are trying to make a difference in the lives of all people. Our only source of income is dues, and donations for T-shirts. All of our officers travel across this country for Veteran-related conferences, conventions and activities at their own expense. No one receives a salary. Since its very beginning AVER has been a labor of love for all concerned.
Thank you for your past support. As you can see from the changes that have already taken place over the last several years – you did make a difference. Your contribution has truly helped all of us. It is not only your dues, but even more important, your membership that has enabled us to say that we represent gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered veterans in this country. We are the living proof that we have served this country. If your membership has expired, please consider renewing so that we can all continue the struggle. If you are not a member, please consider a donation. Thank you for your financial, and moral support.
Thank you for serving your country – again.
former National Secretary, AVER