Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Booed gay soldier addresses gay veteran health event in Chicago
2nd annual Do Ask, Do Tell event reaches out to gay veterans, service members
by Jean Albright, Windy City Times

This article shared 5281 times since Sun Sep 8, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Army Major Steve Snyder-Hill, who was famously booed by an audience during a 2011 Republican presidential debate for asking a question via YouTube about LGBTs in the military, spoke to a LGBT military healthcare symposium in Chicago Sept. 7.

The 2nd annual Operation "Do Ask, Do Tell symposium was for LGBT servicemembers, veterans and families and focused on benefits, health needs and resources. It was held at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.

Snyder-Hill spoke of experiences as a gay service member under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Those experiences made him feel that he had to ask the presidential candidates if they would roll back or sustain the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy (see video). The difficulties of military service and deployment separations were multiplied for gay couples during Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he said, and continued progress is not guaranteed.

"Military people will tell you every day, it is just treacherous on your family and your relationships. Words can't articulate how hard it is on an LGBT family. At the time, we didn't have any kind of support," he said. "Josh and I hid under an escalator to be able to say goodbye. There were other families around and the wives were giving each other phone numbers to call each other and they just had that camaraderie of knowing you've got other people ... and we hid under an escalator and cried."

While soldiers of earlier eras had to write physical letters, worry about them being inspected, and wait months for replies, those in recent conflicts had Skype and cell phones, each with their own risks.

"Many times Josh would say (on the phone), 'I love you,' and I'd just (grumble) thanks, Snyder-Hill said. "But I realized I could overhear voices on the other end on others' calls, so could people overhear Josh? They'd be saying, 'Hey, your wife got a cold?' I bought headphones and turned the call down so far I could hardly hear."

He spoke of the gay jokes that LGBT servicemembers endured without exposing their reactions. On an overseas flight, the joke was made that Brokeback Mountain would be shown during the flight and the military passengers reacted with a wave of derisive laughter.

"I'll never forget the cold, dark and loneley feeling that I [had]," he said. "I was looking at my fellow soldiers, thinking, 'You are my family, you are who I am going into war with, you have to protect me. You're it. You're all I have in this war zone and you're mocking me.'"

When the opportunity to ask a question of presidential candidates came up, Snyder-Hill had to think hard about the debate organizer's request that he ask his question in the form of a YouTube clip where his face would show. But the risk was that, if Don't Ask, Don't Tell were brought back, his coming out and that of others could not be taken back. His 24 years of service, at that time, would be gone. He and his partner agreed that it was important that someone ask the question and that, if that someone was serving in combat at the time, all the better.

"So I submitted the question and my life passed before my eyes. And then the booing, it happened, and from that point it was insane," he said. As the news coverage of the booing was starting to hit, he was starting his morning in Iraq by hearing his own voice and the booing coming from every television screen lining the chow hall. After some awkwardness, he was gratified that many fellow soldiers showed interest and support.

Snyder-Hill and his partner Joshua Snyder-Hill were also plaintiffs in a lawsuit on behalf of married gay and lesbian service members and veterans. The Supreme Court decision in the Edie Windsor case did not address the situation of legally married active-duty military members and veterans. The lawsuit which specifically included veterans was important to the announcement in early September that legally married same-sex spouses of veterans will soon have benefits. ( Related coverage at . )

Major Snyder-Hill's partner recently celebrated picking up his official military benefits card. Meanwhile, Major Snyder-Hill has completed a book which will be available soon.

The Do Ask, Do Tell event was the second in a continuing initiative to make sure LGBT veterans are aware of services and policies and feel welcome to be open about their sexual orientation while seeking care. The official repeal of the military's anti-gay policy was Sept. 20, 2011, but since 2010 the Veterans Hospital Administration has been reaffirming LGBT family members rights to patient visitation and, in June 2011, the Veterans Hospital Administration published a directive spelling out the policy regarding transgender veterans and intersex veterans.

The event in Chicago was equally attended by veterans and service providers interested in fostering a culture of easy communication between LGBT patients and providers.

Lorry Luscri and Mandi Evanson of Edward Hines Veterans Hospital have been primary organizers of the first and second events, joined in their work by Jenny Garretson and Rebecca Powers of Jesse Brown Veterans Hospital and may presenters and volunteers.

Breakout sessions covered topics including services to transgender individuals, DOMA and qualifying for benefits.

A panel of veterans who have sought healthcare through veterans spoke of the pros and cons for LGBT patients there and many resource organizations hosted information tables.

Coverage of last year's event here: .

This article shared 5281 times since Sun Sep 8, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

VIEWPOINT War in the 21st Century: mercenaries, private military companies, private armies 2023-05-20
- In 2022, $407 billion of the Pentagon budget—representing half of that year's funding —were obligated to private contractors, of which a significant number were Private Military Companies (PMCs) involved in ...

Gay News

Modern Military Association of America appoints interim Executive Director 2023-05-18
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, (May 17, 2023) — LGBTQ+ military nonprofit Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) announced today that nonprofit management expert Rachel Branaman, will step into the role of interim executive ...

Gay News

Bill would prohibit discrimination in the military, protect trans service members 2023-04-01
--From a press release, American Veterans for Equal Rights - Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (CA-51) introduced legislation today that would prohibit discrimination in the military and protect transgender service members. The Ensuring Military Readiness Not Discrimination Act, commonly ...

Gay News

WORLD Venezuela code, Oxfam, Bosnia items, 'Brokeback,' Pope Francis 2023-03-25
- Venezuela's Supreme Court annulled a controversial part of the military justice code that had criminalized same-sex relations within the armed forces, the outlet Punch noted. The court annulled the provision, which had provided for a penalty ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Under secretary leaving, gay man killed, anti-trans moves, SF gay bar 2023-02-19
- Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones—the Air Force's second-highest ranking civilian—is stepping down on March 6, after a year and a half in the position, according to Jones was appointed by President Joe Biden as the ...

Gay News

Rubio, Banks introduce bill that would ban some trans people from military 2023-02-17
- Republicans are introducing measures in both houses of Congress that, if passed, would ban some transgender people from serving in the military, The Hill reported. The Ensuring Military Readiness Act, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), ...

Gay News

Lambda Legal challenges anti-HIV military policy 2022-11-13
- Lambda Legal filed a legal challenge to the U.S. military policy that prevents people living with HIV from enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, according to a press release. The current policy requires that applicants for ...

Gay News

Trans U.S. Army doctor, wife charged with helping Russia in war against Ukraine 2022-09-30
- A U.S. Army major doctor and their physician wife were arrested for an alleged criminal plot to give Russia confidential medical information about people connected to the U.S. military and government, CNBC reported. Federal prosecutors claim ...

Gay News

Palm Center to close permanently on Sept. 30 2022-09-26
- The Palm Center—an independent research institute that uses scholarship to inform the national conversation about military policy concerning LGBTQ+ service members—will close permanently on Sept. 30 after running for 24 ...

Gay News

Real-life-based gay military movie 'The Inspection' coming out Nov. 18 2022-08-23
Video below - The movie The Inspection—based on director Elegance Bratton's own life—will be out in theaters on Friday, Nov. 18. In Bratton's film inspired by his own story, a young, gay Black man—rejected by his mother and with ...

Gay News

VIEWS The gay general at Valley Forge 2022-06-18
- Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin von Steuben was born on Sept. 17, 1730, in Magdeburg, Germany. Son of a military father, Friedrich joined the Prussian army— considered the most advanced professional army in Europe at the ...

Gay News

New military policy keeps HIV-positive service members deployable 2022-06-09
- A new Defense Department policy allows HIV-positive service members with an undetectable viral load to not only stay in uniform but remain deployable, Military Times reported. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Campus Pride, HIV and the military, IVF suit, Billie Jean King 2022-05-01
- Campus Pride—along with 36 other national/regional organizations such as GLSEN, PFLAG National and—requested that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) incorporate non-binary students into ...

Gay News

WORLD Soldiers, Everywhere Is Queer, soccer items 2022-04-24
Video below - The South Korean Supreme Court ruled that soldiers of the same sex who have consensual sex in a private space cannot be charged with assault under the Military Criminal Act, The Hankyoreh reported. Previously, the court ...

Gay News

Federal court strikes down Pentagon's restrictions on military service of people Living with HIV as unconstitutional 2022-04-07
-- From a press release - "The court ruled that the Pentagon's policies regarding service members with HIV are not only outdated, but unlawful, arbitrary and capricious, and unconstitutional . . . one of the strongest judicial rulings in over two decades ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.