CalVet is committed to ensuring all Veterans have access to and receive the benefits they have earned without regard to sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability. The Minority Veterans Division promotes the use of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, programs, and services by Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender Veterans (LGBT) Veterans. We advocate on behalf of LGBT Veterans by identifying gaps in services and by making recommendations to improve service. We support and initiate activities that educate and sensitize the public to the unique needs of our LGBT Veterans.
In September 2014, CalVet hosted a two-day California LGBT Veterans Leadership Forum, the first in the nation, to identify needs, gaps and exclusions in housing, employment, healthcare, education, and legal affairs. Based on the Forum, the California Research Bureau prepared White Papers, "Better Serving those who Serve: California's LGBT Veterans Speak Out." The important and significant findings from the white papers were shared with legislators, stakeholders, and LGBT Veteran advocates in September, 2015. Since then, CalVet's Minority Veterans Affairs Division has worked diligently with stakeholders across the state to ensure delivery systems conform to the needs of our LGBT Veterans population.
Are you a Veteran in crisis needing immediate assistance? The
Veterans Crisis Line connects LGBT Veterans in crisis with qualified, caring VA professionals through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1,
chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 National LGBT Crisis Line: (888) 843-4564 Veteran Health Care Line: (800) 455-0057
LGBT Workforce & Service Population Initiatives
The following organizations are provided as an informational primer and do not include every LGBT Veteran Advocacy Group. CalVet is not responsible for the content or privacy policies of the Web sites, and linking to these sites does not constitute endorsement by CalVet of the site sponsors or the information, products, or services they provide.
American Legion Alexander Hamilton Post 448
Alexander Hamilton Post 448 of the American Legion is the only post whose membership comprises predominantly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered honorably discharged Veterans who have successfully served in the United States Armed Forces during a period when our nation was at war. Organized in 1984, the post is recognized locally, statewide, and nationally for their activism pertaining to the welfare of all Veterans, especially their efforts to end potential homophobic discrimination within the United States Military.
AMPA - American Military Partner Association
AMPA is the nation's largest resource and support network for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America's LGBT service members and Veterans.
AVER - American Veterans for Equal Rights
AVER is a non-profit, chapter-based association of active, reserve and Veteran service members dedicated to full and equal rights and equitable treatment for all present and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
SLDN - Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
SLDN is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services watchdog and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and Veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination.
Swords to Plowshares
Swords to Plowshares is a community-based Veteran service organization that provides wrap-around care to more than 2,000 Veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area each year. Their core services include health and social services, supportive housing, employment and training, and legal assistance. They also provide expert support for upgrading gay-related discharges.
Transgender American Veterans Association
Founded in 2003, the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA) is an organization that acts proactively with other concerned gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations to ensure that transgender veterans receive appropriate care for their medical conditions in accordance with the Veterans Health Administration's Customer Service Standards promise to "treat you with courtesy and dignity . . . as the first class citizen that you are." Further, TAVA educates the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on issues regarding fair and equal treatment of transgender and transsexual individuals.
Transgender Law Center
Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or expression