It’s certainly been quite the year, and there’s no denying we’ve continued to make profound progress in the lives of our nation’s LGBT military families. With your help, we’ve claimed some incredible victories, fought back against discrimination, and faced challenges head-on.
Whether it was the long-overdue end to the transgender military ban; resolving our lawsuit challenging discriminatory policies for same-sex spouses at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); an increase in the number of duty stations around the world allowing command sponsorship of same-sex spouses; defeating discrimination against transgender students in Department of Defense (DoD) schools; or working with our partners to stop a discriminatory, anti-LGBT amendment in the annual defense bill; we’ve won some important and historic victories in 2016.
And that’s not all we accomplished together.
Bringing together hundreds of our LGBT military families and allies from across the country and around the world, we honored our heroes and celebrated our accomplishments at our third annual national gala in Washington, DC, and at a special event on the West Coast. We advocated for diversity in the military community, helped to organize pride month events, and celebrated at DoD pride month observances. And we worked with our allies to gather important data through a number of surveys on the unique challenges our LGBT military families face.
That’s just a snapshot of our accomplishments this year.
The AMPA team was certainly busy fighting for you throughout 2016, and we have a lot planned for 2017. I’m especially looking forward to a brand new and exciting education-focused program that we’ll be announcing soon. I’m positive it’s going to make such a big difference in the lives of many of our military spouses, so stay tuned for that big news.
Even with all of our incredible victories and important work we accomplished this year, it’s clear that we still have challenges ahead. But you can rest assured that the AMPA team will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in those coming battles.
We’ll continue to speak out against discriminatory laws impacting our families in states around the country, like in North Carolina and Mississippi. We’ll continue to fight for our transgender veterans, military spouses, and dependents, who are still denied access to often medically-necessary surgery by both the DoD and the VA. And with a new administration, we are on guard against the politicization of military personnel policies that may target our LGBT service members and other minorities.
As our fearless leader, AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack, recently said, “Now more than ever, we must stand united to ensure we protect our military families from any aggression and attempts to roll back our progress.” To put it simply, we’ve got your back, and we won’t back down.
As we close out 2016, there’s one thing you can do for me. Let the AMPA team know you’ll stand with us in 2017 by donating to AMPA now. With your tax-deductible donation, we’ll be able to continue our unprecedented work in education, advocacy, and support for LGBT military families.
Stephen L. Peters II
Founder and President Emeritus
The American Military Partner Association
P.S. SAVE THE DATE! The 4th Annual AMPA National Gala — the biggest LGBT military event of the year — is scheduled for Saturday May 13, 2017, in Washington, DC. We’ll be announcing more details and discounted early bird tickets in January.