Veterans’ Benefits Made Available For Those Discharged Based On Sexual Preference
Nowadays, many people do not judge themselves by the gender they were assigned at birth. Those who are born female can become a male through transition surgery, and vice versa. In addition, some people are attracted to the same sex or both sexes, so we no longer live in a society where women marry men only. Men can now marry men, and women can marry other women.
Society has been acceptant of this to some degree, but there is still hate and prejudice against those who are gay, lesbian and transgender. This is especially true in the military, where morale ranks high. For 17 years, the official policy in the military was “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” meaning that gays who were “in the closet” could serve, while those who were openly gay could not.
New York veterans who were discharged for being gay can now receive the benefits they deserve. Lawmakers in Albany County recently passed a law that would allow those discharged under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” rule to receive veterans’ benefits on a county level.
Eligibility for benefits is based on discharge status. Therefore, under the law, veterans are eligible to receive property tax exemptions and join the county’s Return the Favor Program. They will also receive civil service points. On top of that, they will learn about how to correct their discharge paperwork at the federal level so they can receive even more benefits.
This is a huge deal, considering that since World War II, 114,000 veterans have been discharged due to their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Transgender Ban in the Military
The availability of benefits could not come at a better time. While gay, lesbian and transgender rights have come a long way in recent years, President Donald Trump set back the progress when he announced in August that he would ban transgenders from the military. The ban would affect new recruits, although it is unknown what would happen to existing military members who are transgendered. It caused much protest among military members and even led to several lawsuits. After all, a person’s identity should not affect their work ethic and how well they will fight to preserve the rights of all Americans. Veterans serve with pride and bravery, regardless of their background.
President Trump signed the directive because he was concerned about the medical costs of transgenders. However, research showed that the actual amount of money spent on health care costs would be miniscule.
Contact Us for More Information About VA Benefits
If you were denied veterans’ benefits due to your sexual identity, it’s time to stand up for your rights. No person—especially a veteran who risked his or her life to serve their country—should face such prejudice solely based on their gender or sexual preference.
Contact the Law Office of Michael Lawrence Varon in White Plains to learn more about your eligibility for veterans’ benefits. You may be able to change your discharge papers and get the benefits you deserve. Call his office at (914) 294-2145 to schedule a complimentary consultation.