June 1st officially starts Pride Month which is celebrated all month long. The entire month is dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ+ voices, culture, and to support rights. Some traditions are parades, drag performances, live theater, and memorials and celebrations. Many of aware of the rainbow flag being the symbol of LGBTQ+ pride. But did you know that each color on the flag has its own meaning? Red is a symbol of life, orange is a symbol of healing, yellow is sunshine, green is nature, blue is harmony, and purple is spirit! This flag has had many variations over the year with the last change being in 2021 during the Black Lives Matter protests. As we celebrate Pride Month, it is important to support individuals, organizations, and families within the LGBTQ+ community. As a nonprofit focused around veterans, we thought we would touch on LGBTQ+ in the military and their current policies and safety.
The Department of Defense recognizes the value of taking steps to promote acceptance and inclusion in its ranks. However, this policy is still relatively new and there is still so much to learn. Cultural changes do take time and of course stigmas may linger, but the military is devoted to making service members feel safe and creating an environment where they can be themselves. There are some protocols in place is a service member feels unsafe. First, they should document the incident in writing and photographs, if possible. This formal complaint will then be brought to their chain of command or the military police. In terms of promotions and assignments, if a service member feels they missed out on something because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they may always file a complaint with their military equal opportunity office. Lastly, free confidential non-medical counseling is available which is another great benefit.
Here at ES Riders we support veterans who come back from the military and do not have the resources that they may need to move forward in their lives. With that being said, there are different resources available to the LGBTQ+ community that many are not aware of. There is an LGTBQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator at every VA health care system to support you in getting the care that you need. Here, the VCC can answer your questions, advocate for you, handle complaints or concerns about your care, and help you get started with services for LGBTQ+ Veterans. Visit https://www.patientcare.va.gov/LGBT/VAFacilities.asp to locate your states VCC.
We believe that as times have changed, the military has adapted to the LGBTQ+ community and has put in the right protocols and resources for those that need it. As with anything, there is always so much to learn and change. We think the best way for the military to improve its standards would be to simply listen. Listen to those part of the LGBTQ+ community and consider changes you may have never before. Do your research. Look into new ways to make policies better or even get rid of some you may have had before. Cultural change does take a while to adapt to, however, it is important to keep up with this fast pace changing and ensure your active service members as well as veterans that the military is a safe place. By being a nonprofit that offers the free service of an electric scooter to veterans, we feel the direct impact that we have on supporting veterans. There are so many veterans out there that never got the chance to honor Pride Month or had to hide who they really were during their time of service. It is important to get them the support they need because they deserve it. Everyone deserves it.
Everyone at ES Riders is a part of an organization that prides ourselves on inclusions. We never discriminate an individuals based off their beliefs. We have been helping many generations of veterans and the growth we have seen throughout the years is promising. We promise to never stop learning and to actively contribute to the LGTBQ+ community. We stand by small local businesses that are LGBTQ+ owned and operated. You can always learn something new and its time that everyone starts doing that. Find your own way to contribute. Talk about it. There are so many other ways besides donating money to show your support. Throughout this entire month, we hope you learn new things and continue to honor and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.