Chairman Takano Interviews Jennifer Dane, Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America
“If I could see any change, it’d just be a cultural change at VA,” says MMAA Executive Director
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) interviewed Jennifer Dane, an Air Force veteran and Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America. Ms. Dane offered important policy recommendations to provide more inclusive care and remedy past discrimination against LGBTQ veterans. As part of Chairman Takano’s commitment to build a VA that is more welcoming and inclusive for all of our veterans, he will continue to hear from VSOs that advocate for our nation’s diverse veteran population. Watch the full conversation with Jennifer Dane here.
Watch the full conversation here.
“I am so glad to join Jennifer Dane, who is the Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America, for a conversation about the priorities of the MMAA and how VA can do a better job of caring for the diverse veteran population-- because the Modern Military Association of America definitely represents a big slice of that diversity,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “Little things, like you’ve mentioned, could make VA feel like a more welcoming place to LGBTQ veterans. After all, as you said, LGBTQ and especially trans Americans serve at higher rates than the rest of the country. We must honor that service and sacrifice at VA. We’re going to have to stay in touch, because I can tell you have a whole portfolio of stuff for us to work on. Let’s get on it. Thank you for your service in uniform and all of your great work on behalf of our LGBTQ veterans.”
“Our top concern for sure is that since World War II until the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell 10 years ago, 114,000 veterans were discharged dishonorably or other than honorably. You can get the discharge upgraded after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but like 6% of those folks have even got those discharges upgraded. The process takes an average of two and half years just to get those discharges upgraded, and that’s if we’re really lucky. We need one full-time LGBTQ care coordinator at all of VA’s facilities or at least, at most facilities. And we have to make sure that we have trans-inclusive care for trans folks and make sure that those reminders on electronic health records follow the person if they’ve transitioned.” said Jennifer Dane, Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America. “But if I could see any change, it’d just be a cultural change at VA, which takes a lot of small steps. Just having something like the “I am not invisible campaign” for women veterans for LGBTQ folks. Cultural change looks like education not only for servicemembers in the service and then veterans but also, for VA staff. But really, it’s just being seen. At the end of the day, we are all people. We all want equal rights as everyone else.”
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