Press Release

POB 150160, Kew Gardens, NY 11415

718 849-5665

Gay Veteran Speaks out Against ĎDonít Ask Donít Tellí Policy
at Press Conference held by Representative Steve Israel

Huntington, Long Island, NY: March 29, 2005

Press Contact: Denny Meyer (718) 849-5665

Today, Denny Meyer, Vice President for Veterans Affairs of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), and President of AVERís New York Chapter spoke at Congressman Steve Israelís Veterans Plaza press conference, regarding HR 1059, at Town Hall in Huntington, Long Island, NY. The Congressional Bill would overturn the current "Donít Ask, Donít Tell, Donít Pursue" policy and allow lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons to serve openly in the military.

"Our national policy of promoting homophobia within our armed forces has created an atmosphere of fear and distrust that is destructive to unit cohesion," said Meyer; "the time has come for the pointless policy of ideological discrimination embodied in the ĎDonít Ask, Donít Tellí policy to come to an end so that all American patriotic volunteers may serve our nation in pride."

Meyerís parents were Holocaust refugees who fled Nazi Germany in the late 1930ís and raised him, on the Upper West Side of New York City, to believe in American freedom. As a result of that rearing, he volunteered to join Americaís armed forces in 1968, despite being gay. More than a decade later, as a Sergeant First Class, he left the service, "so that I could live freely as a Gay American," said Meyer. "In addition to the 10,000 discharged under the policy, thousands such as myself left without a word; the loss of training, skills, and leadership is incalculable."

Meyer founded AVER-NY, and led an effort to have the NY CIty Council hear a resolution putting the City on record as demanding the repeal of the DADT policy. The first Council Committee hearing on the resolution was heard last Tuesday, March 22, 2005

American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) is a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans association with chapters throughout the United States. AVER advocates ending the Donít Ask, Donít Tell policy, and is also a service organization for American LGBT veterans.