US Navy: Please Appeal Your DADT Discharge

From the Navy Times:

Navy Department officials are urging the thousands of sailors and Marines forced out of the military because of their sexuality in previous decades to come forward and appeal their discharge — in a step to restore benefits and right a historical wrong.

The Board for Correction of Naval Records can overturn a wide range of records, from counseling letters to detachments for cause, but recently they have been putting the word out to veterans who were separated because of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — and its previous across-the-board ban — that they can have their discharges upgraded and their reenlistment codes or reason codes changed to reflect a post-DADT world.

In general, BCNR can consider requests to upgrade discharges all the way down to dishonorable, but Thompson said most sexuality-related discharges were honorable or general under honorable conditions, which entitle veterans to all or most benefits.

The easiest cases to overturn are those where a veteran was discharged simply for being gay. If misconduct also came into play, it would be more complicated, but still worth pursuing.

  • bkmn

    Just saw a weather update – massive rounds of Sadz™ are on the way!

    • Lakeview Bob

      I know. I think I hear heads of bigots exploding as I write this.

      • b

        FRC and NOM will be all over this story.

    • Nic Peterson

      I wonder if FTD would be able to send a dozen stinking corpse lilies to Elaine Donnelley? Too over the top? I think it sends just the right message.

      • Statistics Palin

        One dozen eight-foot-tall flowers? The rarest botanical specimen in the world? That might be a tad extravagant. OTOH, if expense is not an issue, why not show her how we really feel and send her a gross of triffids?

        • JW Swift

          The kind that spits poison and kills?

          • Statistics Palin

            Blinds, too.

        • Jay George

          FEED ME!

        • another_steve

          Ohmigod… “The Day of the Triffids,” the 1951 novel that was turned into a 1962 feature film of the same name.

          Give me a goddamn upvote, old queers reading here, if you remember either.

          • marshlc

            Read everything John Wyndham wrote….

          • another_steve

            “The Chrysalids” is required reading for any lover of science fiction.

          • marshlc

            I’d think it would have a special impact for any gay person, especially one raised among religious fundamentalists.

          • Phil in Colorado

            England did a series in the 80’s based on the book – 6 parts I think. A lot more grim than the movie, where the triffids were more of a supporting role in the story of societal collapse.

          • Statistics Palin

            It was a very good series. Because of their small numbers, the first triffid invasion was easily defeated. However, triffid oil was found to be valuable, and human greed led to mass cultivation. Superior numbers allowed the triffids to overcome the humans.

          • John30013
          • NowVoyager

            Yes, I remember the movie. I was 11 yrs. old when I first saw it. I was afraid to look up at the sky during any meteor showers for a while afterwards. Damn Triffids!!! But, who knew that they could be killed so easily by just feeding them pretzels or saltines. They probably died from instantaneous high blood pressure in the movie. In the next remake, I heard some place (probably from the same news sources found on Univision, FOX, MSNBC and CNN which claimed Mateen was “secretly gay”) that the military might deploy Anchovie cluster bombs to eradicate the Triffids should they reappear.

          • Phillip in L.A.

            “anchovie cluster bombs”! Love it!

          • Mark

            H’ain’t seen the movie but…..forever – and I do mean FOREVER – ingrained in my memory……

            I knew Leo G. Carroll
            Was over a barrel
            When Tarantula took to the hills
            And I really got hot
            When I saw Janette Scott
            Fight a Triffid that spits poison and kills

            Dana Andrews said prunes
            Gave him the runes
            And passing them used lots of skills
            But When Worlds Collide
            Said George Pal to his bride
            I’m gonna give you some terrible thrills
            Like a…
            Science fiction (ooh ooh ooh) double feature

          • Raising_Rlyeh

            “And I really got hot when I saw Janette Scott fight a triffid that spits poison and kills.”

          • Phillip in L.A.

            Yes, I remember it. My uncle helped write it!

        • Nic Peterson

          How about a box of plugged toilets? Let’s show how much we care.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          +50 Triffids

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    What’s that popping sound I hear coming from the direction of Teabagistan?

    • Zeldacat

      I read that as pooping sound. Could be either, really.

  • Tigernan Quinn

    I was kicked out in 1990 before the DADT ban – I’ve told my three months of hard prison labor story a couple of times – I wonder what recourse people like me have.

    • Go ahead and try. Sounds like if you act now, you can get your record wiped clean.

    • UltraStealth

      According to the Navy, even those discharged before DADT have the exact same options.

      I just wonder about the word “forced”. I elected to come-out to the Navy because I feared for my life after members of my squadron found out I was gay and threatened my life on numerous occasions. So, I wonder if I have the ability to do anything about my discharge codes, since I wasn’t forced out through official channels.

      • bkmn

        I would encourage both of you to try. The worst would be them saying no. You may be entitled to some benefits.

      • Mark

        I elected to exit also. While I have honorable discharge and full benefits, I’d still like to have the reason eliminated as it is no longer pertinent.

        • UltraStealth

          Had to see a shrink before separation. He greeted me by punching me in the stomach, knocked the wind out of me for about 2 minutes, thought I was going to die. Then, he called me a filthy sodomite, and challenged me to hit him back, I knew I’d get the brig if I did, so I had to stay and listen to his Christian abuse for about an hour. I’ll never forget any of that.

          I don’t trust these people, they frighten me, I think I just keep my code.

          • Mark

            I’d be lookin for his ass…..

          • UltraStealth

            All I have is a DD-214, my discharge was honorable. What could I do if I found him? Who’d ever believe me? That part of my life is 35 years in the past and that’s right where I want it to stay.

          • coram nobis

            Even if your (or anybody’s) discharge is honorable, you should STILL check the DD 214 for the separation program number (SPN) code. It may tell HR departments something different than simply “honorable” and you need to make sure.

            http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/l/blcode1.htm

          • Merv99

            Ultimately, it’s up to you, but it would be unfortunate if this history were lost. And it will be, unless it is written down. If he did it to you, he probably did it to others. If you put your experiences, name of unit, and years of service online, others can find it via web search and corroborate what you’re saying. Outserve-SLDN might be able to help.

          • Steven Leahy

            I wasn’t hit but took very similar verbal abuse. I would rather leave it all behind me.

          • Mark

            I know ya’ll are gonna spit on me…but…..
            My separation was a very unique experience. The CO of the base had 3 or 4 sons – all of them in their teens. And every wednesday at 1 pm I had a meeting in the CO’s office. Every week he would ask questions – some of them very personal. It took 3 or 4 months to push the paperwork – and at the end, we shook hands – no salute – and he thanked me for the honesty. His reason? He has those 3 or 4 sons. ( always thought he suspected one of his sons was gay)

            Also – during this time – I took ballroom dancing lessons with my Chief’s wife. And I still did the mobile disco thing at the officer’s and NCO clubs. I left in May 1980.

          • David Walker

            Well done, Mark. In reading the stories in “Conduct Unbecoming,” I was amazed at the vast difference in attitudes among COs.

          • JustSayin’

            Mark, my enlistment was even stranger than that as was my entire career pre-dadt and during.

            They came looking for me, across country, to get me to enlist. Offered me 20k to sign up in 1974. That was real money then and paid lump sum on signing.

            The form asked me if I was gay and if I ever tried pot. i said YES to both. They made me do the form again to get rid of the pot admission (made it say experimented less than three times, i was just high for ten years straight! So only really tried once, never came down.) but left the fag admission. Because of my job and security clearance they did not care that i was a fag, just that i did not lie to them. Every subsequent contract admitted to being gay.

            I was wounded in combat, twice had my plane shot down, and lots of replacement parts are in my body to this day. Retired with my 22 years and have a 80% disability rating on top of that. I have run my own company since getting out.

            I was lucky and I know it. Had several homophobes try to cause me grief and occasional physical harm. I am still living, they are not. The haters tried to have me discharged and the Navy told them to get bent! There are more like me than you might imagine, but on the whole not as many as were run out by witchhunts.

          • StraightGrandmother

            20 Grand as a signing bonus? I mean your first one, as you first signed up? Man you musta had some valuable skills. That was a lot of money back than and even today $20,000 is nothing to sneeze at.

          • JustSayin’

            There is another reason code on you dd214 that marks you as homo. Google how to reead my dd214 to see how to find it.

          • Steven Leahy

            Based on my experience when I came out in the pre-DADT military, I totally believe that happened. They were a fucking vile bunch.

          • JustSayin’

            Please read my long post in this thread. In your letter to the board INCLUDE that little detail about the assault. Others will have experienced the same and if it has been mentioned before you become golden for a seperate legal claim and possibly an MST claim.

          • Jay George

            🙁 They should have to pay for that.

          • StraightGrandmother

            That’s awful, really awful.
            And almost all the victims are young, barely shaving. I bet you were young weren’t you?

        • Steven Leahy

          Oh you don’t like the “homosexuality” notation on your DD214, either?

      • Steven Leahy

        My experience matches yours., 1985 here.

      • JustSayin’

        Yes you do. Read my long post above. Any discharge related to being gay is up for review and reinstatement of benefits even OTH and BCD depending on circumstances. It is a lot of hard work and waiting. Be prepared to appeal andre-appeal. In the end you can. The end is not the Review Board, it is the VA court and that tends to overturn the denials by the review board.

    • margaretpoa

      Also kicked out in 1990. Lost two pay grades an ALL of my earned benefits. I’ve been getting the run around for decades since then. This is enough to cause me to try again but I’m not going to hold my breath.

      • PLAINTOM

        Go for it and let us know how it turns out. This goes for all you vets in the JMG playhouse.

      • See if this group can help.

        https://www.outserve-sldn.org/

      • StraightGrandmother

        Go for it, go for it.

    • Mark

      Please petition to have it all reconsidered. It’s very possible you can recover your benefits.

      PS – For what it is worth….I receive all of my healthcare via the VA – and it counts so that I don’t have to pay for ACA. Also, the VA has implemented a new program and if you live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, you can go to ANY doctor you want – and they will cover it.

      • yetanotherLaura

        Yes, the VA now also has a policy that if wait time for an appointment or procedure is over 30 days, they’ll send you to an outside doctor at no cost to you. My hasband, a disabled vet, gets all his truly excellent health care at the Tampa VA, and they’ve sent him outside twice recently for what we’re routine procedures simply because of wait time.

        Please try to get your discharges fixed, and if you’re entitled to VA care, take advantage of it. This is another one where we can thank Obama, for appointing VA Secretary who’s not putting up with bullshit excuses. If you’ve earned the benefit, I want my tax dollars taking care of you, too!

        And it shows that single payer healthcare can and does exist. I am green with envy over the care he’s gotten!

        • StraightGrandmother

          I used to take my father in to the VA for his healthcare. Heart doc, eye doc, hearing doc, general doc, and I think I remember a rheumatologist also. Oh and urology. They had a bus that drove you in from the suburbs. It was very nice service, a few times I rode the bus with my dad.

      • StraightGrandmother

        Free Healthcare is very valuable. Just ask people who don’t have any at all.

    • JustSayin’

      Please read my long post above it will help you in many ways.

    • These folks should be able to help:

      https://www.outserve-sldn.org/

  • hiker_sf

    OT: Black Lives Matter pulls out of San Francisco gay pride over policing

    Black Lives Matter pulls out of San Francisco gay pride over policing

    • AJayne

      That’s completely sad. Black lives do matter, including the gay ones. They belong there, and will be missed if they don’t decide to join after all…

    • BobSF_94117

      As stupid as I find the attempt to screen hundreds of thousands of people, what’s their objection?

    • TYAvenger

      not ot: gary oliver is anti asian racist who shouldnt say nothing about racism.

  • Meanwhile, Trump has just founded his own Legion of Homophobia (aka ‘evangelical advisory board’) still claims he will overturn same-sex marriage, rescind all of Obama’s pro-LGBT executive orders on day one, and pass a complete “I just wanna discriminate” religiously-based exemption from all LGBT anti-discrimination laws, yet claims he’d be better for the LGBT community than the Democrats. Which of course is a load of pure distilled bullshit.

    http://images.dailykos.com/images/266866/large/Screen_Shot_2016-06-24_at_9.48.02_AM.png?1466786971

    • AtticusP

      I heard he’s also planning to turn water into wine and to heal the lepers.

      That’s good news for Capitol Hill!

      • Trump would never let a leper get within a hundred yards of him. Haven’t you heard? He’s a germophobe, too, among his many other mental illnesses.

        • Phillip in L.A.

          Maybe his Munchhausen’s Syndrome by Proxy involves thinking he’s Howard Hughes!

      • Richard, another Canuck

        I’ve also heard that Trump Steaks will be served at all State dinners, and that the official water of the US government will be Trump Water.

        • AtticusP

          Bottled directly at the source: Flint, Michigan.

        • PeterC

          Really? piss?

        • StraightGrandmother

          Doesn’t he have Trump Vodka too? Sold in his clubs I think.

    • bkmn

      Really? I figured on his first day he would rename the White House as Trump Central, shutter the IRS, name himself as chief contractor for everything the government buys and put himself on the $1000 bill.

    • Chucktech

      Jesus godalmighty, how fucking dumb to you have to be to believe the President of the United States can just blow into office and rescind gay marriage?? How fucking pathetic and god besotted do you have to be to swallow such bullshit from someone who clearly gives two shits about jesus?

      • Proverbial “Day One” rescind? No, not possible, you’re right.

        Start up the executive orders granting blanket exemptions from having to recognize same-sex marriage rights? Totally do-able. Nominate Scalia’s replacement and just wait for Ginsberg or some other pro-LGBT justice to retire or die and suddenly 5-4 SCOTUS becomes 4-5 in favor of overturning Obergefell and even give a green light to a GOP controlled Congress to reinstate DOMA or worse.

        Thing is, Trump has vowed to do both of these. To reverse all of Obama’s pro-LGBT executive orders (including those related to same-sex marriage) and to appoint Justices who’ll overturn Obergefell.

        • Chucktech

          Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. The courts will strike down any such draconian executive orders and the Supreme Court practically never overturn decisions, especially something like Obergefell. They’ll sooner overturn Roe v. Wade than Obergefell. Besides, the only thing Donald Trump cares about is Donald Trump.

          • Prior decisions upheld DOMA and DADT. Overturns happen, increasingly so in recent years. Justices like Scalia (Rest-in-Hell), Thomas, and Alito gladly tossed aside precedent whenever it suited them. Appoint two more like them and things go very badly, very fast. Guess which Justice is Trump’s announced favorite? Thomas.

            Yes, the only thing Trump cares about is Trump — and he’s a raging homophobe and bigot who’ll gladly appoint the Justices he’s said he wants to overturn Obergefell. He has no reason not to.

          • Ninja0980

            Lawrence V Texas overturned Bowers V Hardwick.
            There is nothing to say it can’t happen in reverse with DOMA and Marriage equality, especially when you have four different justices explaining four different ways to do it.

          • PeterC

            OT Kansas (Brownback & company) is working on a state law that will prevent KS courts from over turning any thing they pass.

          • Ninja0980

            Kansas has become a hellhole, it truly has and it’s only going to get worse.
            Any members of my mom’s family that can flee have done so or are going to.
            No reason to stick around when everything goes to hell.

          • StraightGrandmother

            These people are complete idiots.

            Do they think they can pass a law to re-institute slavery and no court will over turn them because they voted that their laws are not subject to judicial review?

          • StraightGrandmother

            And Roberts like to do it stealth method. Not just strike down an entire previous decision but just strike down parts of it. This is what he did with the Voting Rights Act if I remember right. Piece by piece.

          • Ninja0980

            Yup, he used previous rulings to deliver a fatal blow to the VRA, just like he always wanted to.

          • StraightGrandmother

            I’m not so sure they wouldn’t overturn Obergefell, remember the dissents? Alito, how snotty he was.

      • bkmn

        That’s how Joel Osteen became a billionaire

    • JustSayin’

      The only thing he could do day one is rescind all of Obamas executive orders.

    • Jay George

    • Ninja0980

      Hey, if they were Muslims they would want us dead so we shouldn’t complain about these people wanting to roll back our civil rights.*
      * Snark

  • AtticusP

    Very nice.

    I hope this includes survivor benefits for the spouses of those veterans who are no longer living. That’s only fair.

    • JustSayin’

      Please read my long post above. Survivor benefits are possible but there is work to do to get them.

    • b

      Serving people, and their spouses and children, deserve equal treatment.

  • delk

    BOOM

    • Acronym Jim

      Wasn’t that an ELO album cover?

      • delk

        I saw their Out of the Blue ‘spaceship’ tour in either 78 or 79, can’t remember, lol.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        If it wasn’t, it should have been!

    • PLAINTOM

      We have become Shiva, destroyer of your fucked imaginary world.

  • Jeff Breeze

    is there any office we can contact about this?

    • From the linked article:

      The first step is to determine whether to start with NDRB, an active-duty panel for discharges less than 15 years old. It’s recommended to start there, Thompson said, because it gives a veteran two extra chances to review their case, before taking it to BCNR’s civilian panel, whose decision is final.

      For cases older than 15 years, the appeal process begins at BCNR’s official website, where you can start an application to have your case reviewed. Technically, the board’s statute of limitations is three years, but the board regularly grants waivers.
      (…)
      Thomas recommends that a veteran who is appealing should submit a letter explaining why, in the interest of justice, the limit should be waived. It’s important to provide as much evidence as possible with the packet, he added, on top of the required DD-149 form.
      (…)
      Include as much paperwork as you can gather: service records, awards, evaluations, medical diagnoses, investigations — anything relevant to your case.

      Once an application is submitted, one of BCNR’s 16 examiners will pull an official service record from Navy Personnel Command and review anything the applicant includes. The examiner prepares a brief, and a panel of three senior Navy Department civilians meets once a month to hear cases.

      It takes about a year on average to close a case, Thompson said, because like many federal agencies, there is a backlog. But recent changes, like boosting manpower by 13 percent and allowing email applications for the first time, are designed to move things along.

    • Mark
    • JustSayin’

      Please see my long post above. It might be helpful. Good luck.

  • margaretpoa

    That’s awesome news! I was discharged for being trans three years prior to DADT and I have gotten the runaround for YEARS on restoring my earned rank and benefits. Thanks, JoeMG!

  • Duane Dimitrov

    I love the picture of the pride-themed cake being cut by enlisted personnel.

    It must get so in the craw of the Tony Perkins crowd.

    Suck it! And pass that damn cake. In fact, gimme two pieces, I just went for a run.

    • bdsmjack

      The RWNJs have a weird thing about cake.

      • PLAINTOM

        They really do.

      • Duane Dimitrov

        RWNJ?

        • JW Swift

          Right Wing Nut Job. (Commonly used acronym. )

  • David Milley

    This is genuinely wonderful!

  • Mister Don

    Posthumously? Copy Berg?

  • Skeptic

    I just got my AF discharge changed to “Honorable” dating from the early ’60’s. It only took 2 + years to get it done. So far no word on benefits or any thing else.

    • Mark

      Being your discharge now says honorable, you will have to actually apply for benefits. Start here:

      http://www.va.gov/

    • JustSayin’

      Please read my long post above this. You might see something that can help you. Good luck.

  • JT

    Finally, now others will be able to do what Keith Meinhold was able to do through the courts.
    http://product-images.highwire.com/8552644/c05b739f-d47e-43c7-824c-3a94c892a148.jpg

    • SoCalVet

      newsweek was so helpful…it was an article about the gay movement in around 1977 that really clued me in to many things.

      • JT
        • RainbowPhoenix

          I suddenly have an overwhelming urge for pie…

        • SoCalVet

          I don’t think that was the one…it wasn’t over a fight…it might have been earlier than that. But thanks, that’s interesting! Hated her!

        • Adam King

          She looks like she can’t stop smelling her own farts.

  • Belthazar

    POTUS giving a new meaning to “lame duck”. I think he’s trying to make their heads explode.

  • SoCalVet

    That’s so sweet and makes me a little weepy. Think of all the people whose lives were negatively affected.

  • Steven Leahy

    What planet are we on?

    • Sam_Handwich

      not sure, but if we were on Uranus you’d know it

      😀

      • Steven Leahy

        Such a different military from the hateful pre-DADT one I experienced.

        • Sam_Handwich

          sorry, wasn’t trying to mock your horrible experience. 🙁

          at least we’ve spent our lives witnessing progress in all areas, including the military. onward and upward!

          • Steven Leahy

            Oh I didn’t take any offense at all, hugs and cheers 🙂

        • SoCalVet

          did you have to answer the questions that asked if you were gay or intended to have gay sex?? I did. I lied like a mofo.

          • Steven Leahy

            Yes and yes, I did too. Then I came out to them while still in, in 1985 – and got booted out.

          • SoCalVet

            I never understood why people didn’t think DADT was at least a small step forward…not having to be asked that and forced to lie. Sorry that happened to you but thanks for standing up for the truth!

          • Steven Leahy

            ThanksSoCal 🙂 Agree about DADT. It was definitely NOT a step backward, even if not a good thing.

          • JT

            There was supposed to be a “Don’t Pursue” there. But it wasn’t applied the way it was supposed to be.

            http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/20/news/20iht-gay_1.html

          • JustSayin’

            It is because most of those that whine about it were NOT service members and have no Idea what life was like before DADT.

            It was not peaches and cream afterwards but all you had to do was keep your mouth shut and do your job!

          • SoCalVet

            I was never very good at keeping my mouth shut, obviously! lol

      • RainbowPhoenix

        I will curse Johann Elert Bode’s name until the day I die.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    If the republicans had their way, the ban would still be in place and we wouldn’t be seeing this.

    • PLAINTOM

      If the Republicans had their way, it would be search and destroy.

    • Sam_Handwich

      Obama is a stealth operator. Best since FDR in terms of getting big deals done that won’t be reversed.

      and if repukes try to roll stuff back there will be millions of us in cars, trains, planes, bicycles and feet to DC for the most bigly and yoooge protest they’ve ever seen

  • coram nobis

    One point to repeat: even if your discharge was honorable, check the DD-214 form for the Separation Program Number (SPN, pron. “spin”). It may say something that HR departments or insurers might see that you didn’t.

    http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/l/blcode1.htm

    • Ray Taylor

      I dug my DD-214 out of hiding and found I have a code 205 which means I was transfered to Naval Reserve.

      • coram nobis

        Still, for anybody it’s worth a look. You’re good.

  • JT

    OT:
    You would have thought he was a rock star.

    When President Barack Obama walked through the door at San Francisco’s trendy Twenty Five Lusk, he coolly pulled off his shades, and the crowd went wild.

    Surprised diners and those at the bar broke out in applause and cheered.

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/President-Obama-Twenty-Five-Lusk-San-Francisco-8323330.php

    • Chucktech

      It used to be that Bill Clinton was the rock star wherever he went, and he still is (and Jimmy Carter, to a lesser degree). But he’ll have to hand the Former POTUS Rock Star crown to Obama.

      And, of course, contrast that with poppie Bush and Moron Bush. Nobody gives a fuck where they go or what they do.

      • popebuck1

        Oh, you couldn’t be more wrong. George W. Bush gets a standing ovation every time he drops by the Halliburton executive dining room for one of his “girls’ day out” dress-up lunches with Cheney.

    • William

      Does anyone have Mitch McConnell’s DD-214?

    • Schlukitz

      This link took me to a page that I could not leave no matter what button I pressed.

      I had to force quit in order to get control of my computer back.

      • JT

        I don’t know what happened in your case. I’ve tried two browsers and not had that problem.

        • Schlukitz

          No worries. No harm was done. It’s all good. 🙂

  • JCF

    On a day I’m feeling thankful to John Paul Jones and the Continental Navy, for helping win our independence from Blightey (and yes, I’m aware of the irony: thank heavens the 1776 U.S. got our independence from 2016 independence-from-the-EU whining England)

    Thank you, President Obama! <3

  • JustSayin’

    Guys, if you were discharged under DADT please read this, or if you know anyone who was discharged under DADT.
    If you have a deceased spouse or long term partner read this.

    I have spent the last 15 years doing volunteer work to help vets get their benefits. This is in my spare time! I have been through this for portions of my own benefits and for 100 plus vets who the VA screwed!

    The VA is NOT your friend. By that I mean their rules, regs, and interpretations of things in law and the DSM is not the same as civilians would think they are.

    Before you fill out any paperwork please contact the Servicemens Legal Defense Network to find a gay friendly Veterans Service Officer or lawyer in your area. You may be signing away rights and benefits you do not know you have an entitlelment too.

    Different conditions apply to different people. So for examole if you were kicked ou pre-DADT for being gay, you can still use the same process and procedure, but VA will initially tell you it does not apply to you.

    Education and medical benefits are more tricky. Across the board your GI bill education benefits expire 10 years after you leave the service. VA employees will tell you there are no exceptions. They are wrong.

    When your discharge is upgraded, and NOT A DAY BEFORE, tell the VA you want to use your GI bill ed benefits. They will deny, you appeal, they deny, you appeal that denial to the VA Court. You can have a PhD and are still entitled to 48 months of paid college education at any level you choose! Even if you are already retired it is your right to use that benefit. As a bonus, those discharged before 9/11 will get the old Montgomery GI bill rate for BAH as a subsidy. It is about 700 a month for a full time student no dependents. If you were discharged post 9/11 you get the OEF/OIF GI Bill benefits of 48 months paid college AND E5 pay w/ or w/out dependents depending on marital status. That would be about $2800 a month right now.

    Another quirk, is that if you have a valid service connected claim for disability that was blocked by the DADT discharge, and after jumping through many other hoops, you can get evaluated for that claim. If you are rated as 30% or higher for any and all combined disabilities that are service connected, you can then become elegible for payment for past unpaid disability and then get a monthly disability check. The quirk here is that they will try to date this back payment from the date you made the claim after you got your discharge upgraded. THAT IS NOT THE RIGHT DATE! But they will argue with you over that. You need to appeal and re-appeal and may end up back in VA Court.

    The value in jumping through those hoops is huge. If it takes a year from claim to rating you might get $10 K in backpay. If your discharge was 15 years ago and you can tie the injury to in service duties, that same backpay will jump to $150,000.00 in a lump sum, plus ongoing disability payment. You can take thw first amount and still appeal for the rest!

    If you can prove a PTSD relationship to your service, AND after discharge you dove into drugs and a reckless life, you have an additional claim. If that life led you to contracting HIV, you have another claim. And medical amd prescription benefits.

    If your now dead spouse was the service member you have a claim to survivor benefits and education benefits and their estate has a claim for the backpay at married rates. Lots of paperwork and back and forth but financially it is well worth the effort.

    If you get rated for service connected disability but used your GI Bill while in service you may be eligible for Chapter 31 benefits under VocRehab. Even if you already have a degree! They will tell you that it is only for those who do not have a degree and they LIE!

    The key here is that if you are service connected disabled and cannot access regular GI Bill ed benefits, Chapter 31 is written just for you! The Chapter refers to the Federal laws that give military folks benefits!

    If you go this route, the number one thing to know, and that they will not tell you, and will try to get you diverted from, is that the college education they MUST pay for, is in the field YOU want to go into. They are only required to pay to educate you to the entey level but up to a BA is standard in every field. BUT if you want to be an MD, Lawyer, or College professor the entey levle is a PhD or higher. You of course must be smart enough to pass the LSAT or MCAT, but beyond that they HAVE TO PAY FOR THAT EDUCATION under Chapter 31. In short if you go this route, tell them the job with the highest entry level requirement in the field you want to go into.

    It is a lot of work, and you should get a VSO to help you wade through the shit paperwork. If you feel the VSO is not doing their job or is not gay friendly you have a right to a new one that is, so do not put up with shit from them!

    • Great post, JustSayin’ and also kudos to you for performing such a helpful service.

    • StraightGrandmother

      Great information. I hope people will post their personal experience to you so you can respond. It will inform everybody reading.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    This is awesome. Just sent this to my best friend who, after 14 years of service, was kicked out for being gay. I hope he gets back pay or other benefits. He called and said he is absolutely pursuing this.

    • Ray Taylor

      Damn– all this makes me almost wish I had been kicked out, But I played it (not) straight and narrow. To those who are able to benefit from all this, I say Congratulations.

  • nowhereman

    Wow! What wonderful news! I had a lot of gay friends who were separated from the military back in the day. It’s nice to see that there is an effort to make it better.

  • Rebecca Gardner
    • Phillip in L.A.

      Thx for posting, Rebecca Gardner! Terrible, terrible loss of Bernie Worrell

  • David Walker

    In light of their record as the most hateful fag bashers, this is an amazing story. I finished reading Randy Shilts’ “Conduct Unbecoming,” which reports on how horribly our fellows were prior to DADT. Of the four branches of the military, the Navy was the most savage, most aggressive, most likely to believe and promulgate lies.

    They do seem to be going out of their way to be good. More power to them.

    • coram nobis

      See also Coming Out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II by Allan Berube.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Conduct Unbecoming is a truly excellent book, David Walker! I think it will still be read 50 years from now!

  • Sam_Handwich

    I’m curious… DADT was on its way to being struck down in federal court. Did congress via repeal of the law, in advance of the court declaring a constitutional RIGHT for gays to serve, eliminate the possibly of large-scale, multiple party lawsuit seeking damages from the military?

    • bJason

      While I am not a fan of the LCR in general, it was absolutely gut-wrenching to see their case dismissed as moot after all the years of work that went into it. Whatever else one can say, we owe them thanks on this.

  • Note to NYPD, THIS is an apology. They can’t undo the past, but they are going to do what they can to correct the wrongs. This is how you say that you’re sorry that your predecessors were assholes.

  • JustSayin’

    Completely OT but NOLA. Com has a story up about the first couple in LA to get a marriage license a year ago. The pic shows the two men kissing.

    When first published there were almost 2000 comments , most hate filled crap. Today, after being up 6 hours there are three comments. Two supportive and one snarky one about the guys wanting kids.

    That is a big change in just a year!

    • StraightGrandmother

      WOW! Justice Kennedy IS right, the law can be a teacher. When the Supreme Court says, “This is good” many people change.

      I hope the guys who’s picture it is notice the same thing you noticed.
      [Is it, “who’s picture it is,” or is it, “whose picture it is?”]

      • marshlc

        Whose. Who’s is ” who is”.

  • JT
    • Ben in Oakland

      Very appealing.

  • That’s what she said

    what is considered “misconduct?”

    • leastyebejudged

      Anything the military says is.

      You expect fairness and rationality from hired killers ?

  • Galvestonian

    What benefits ? I did get my discharge upgraded to honorable and had to fight the VA for an entire year (finially had to bring in the ACLU and my local congressman) to get my education benefits and used every friggin’ nickle getting a Bachelors and Masters degree. I never did get my awards, medals and navy commendations that I earned. Was there anything else other than a full 8 months of my life lost hiding in the basement of my parents house – shamed – desolate – thinking my life was over – because of the fucking trauma the navy put me through in the months leading up to that discharge.

    • David From Canada

      Typical Government red-tape. They chew you up and then they spit you out.
      Kudos for your service to your country and for having the backbone to get your degrees. That is a great accomplishment.
      You know the old saying: If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    Color me suspicious but won’t overturning a discharge from the Navy mean in some cases you’re back in?

    • No. It is only a change in the status of one’s discharge. Less-than-honorable separation from the service can mean loss of access to all kinds of post-service benefits. Changing it to honorable restores them. That is all.

  • leastyebejudged

    Because if you do appeal you will have no legal standing for future class action suits against the military for the pain and suffering they INTENTIONALLY caused you.

    This is a smart move on the part of the military, saves them billions and costs them almost nothing.

    • Johnny Wyeknot

      A bird in the hand, as they say.

      • leastyebejudged

        It also spares the big brass that’s still IN the services from being put on the stand and called to testify about their past bigoted remarks and activities.

        These fuckers used to do sleazy and borderline legal shit like get the local sheriffs to stop and detain people leaving gay bars for the MP’s to arrest.

        • billbear1961

          If you take a look at Conduct Unbecoming, you’ll find MANY of their tactics WERE illegal, because, long ago, they knew many of their victims would never said a word in public about–let alone take legal action over–the terrible abuses they suffered at their sadistic inquisitors’ hands.

    • Boy Elvis

      Leave it to you to find the touch of gray in this silver lining…but I can’t disagree. That sounds spot on to me. The rule in the military is CYA, after all.

  • mark99k

    Who’d’ve thought, 20 years ago, that the armed forces would be one of the most consistently and enlightenedly gay-friendly parts of the government?

    • StraightGrandmother

      Not me, I would have never thought that.

  • MBear

    Almost

  • SoCalGal20

    Ok, the source is Page Six so it might not be totally reliable but OMG I hope it’s true.

    http://pagesix.com/2016/06/24/cnn-staff-revolts-over-corey-lewandowski-hire/

  • Mike__in_Houston

    OT: At long last, Tired Old Queen at the Movies meets The Women:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfhmtChiw5M

  • Mariaeeaves1
  • Max_1

    Sorry, O/T:
    Straight Outta Oz by Todrick Hall
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1YEYOTUxcg

    • billbear1961

      I hope he gets Gareth back!

      (Only watched about a third of this, Max!)

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    O/T – A little bit of good news:

    The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll (6/22) has Hillary leading Drumpf by 10 points. The previous Reuters/Ipsos polls [using the same company just to compare apples to apples] had her leading Trump by 9 points on 6/15 and 8 points on 6/8, so she’s gaining a point a week. I calculate that, at this rate, she will be 29 points ahead of the Donald by Election Day.

    As with all good news, let’s not get complacent.

    • billbear1961
    • lymis

      I’m not so optimistic that I’ll predict that sort of lead, though I’d be doing an epic happy dance if it happens.

      But I’ve been saying all along – since before it was even clear who the Democratic candidates would be, much less the nominee, that the biggest hurdle this cycle would be all the insane money that the Republican machine was going to throw solidly behind whatever candidate they chose.

      So far, though, it looks more and more like the Big Money on the Republican side is failing to coalesce behind Trump, and is looking for ways to either sit things out or try to shore up the downticket candidates while letting Trump flap uselessly in the wind.

      If THAT continues, and the country’s supervillains aren’t paying to have him elected, we might actually see those sorts of numbers. Which would be delightful.

  • David in Tucson

    That is breathtaking news!

    • billbear1961

      Vivat JUSTITIA!!

  • billbear1961
  • Ninja0980

    We want SADZ!

  • lymis

    This is wonderful. I can’t say it’s completely unexpected, because it follows from allowing openly gay servicemembers, but I never expected it this soon.

    I’m a casualty of the Navy’s gay policy, but not in the same way. I was completely closeted the whole time I was in, and finally couldn’t tolerate it, so I resigned. I probably would have made the Navy a career if serving openly had been an option.

    Nothing like what happened to those who got outed and pitched out, especially those who go other than honorable or dishonorable discharges, but seeing this sort of thing happen to repair what damage can be repaired is huge.

  • well, i was in the USMC, so i guess it doesn’t count. but i remember what got me kicked out. and what didn’t, back in the bad old days.

    the military always lies. i guess there’s really no other way to say it. also: the leadership is by definition corrupt, when it has to be for political reasons. my point being, and i’m sure after 170 comments i’m not the only one to say this, but many of us were removed from a career of service for different reasons that no ‘take-back’ on DADT can fix.

    there was one rich guy who had a similar experience in the Corps like i did, and he sicced some evil lawyers on them and got a reinstatement. but i didn’t have that kind of money and so i just went back to school instead of fighting it. even my CO told me if i had had the lawyer money i might have won. it was all such bullshit.

    for a more recent generation, this may be a very good thing. altho i remain firm in saying that right now, it’s a bad time to serve. think of other careers, if you can. none of our wars and expenditures on the military are “good” right now, other than disaster relief.

    • lymis

      It depends on what actual government agency is doing this policy. The Marines fall under the United States Department of the Navy, which in turn falls under the Department of Defense. It’s pretty rare for personnel policy to be different between the Navy and the Marines (or any other service branch, really).

      Since the linked article mentions “Navy Department officials are urging the thousands of sailors and Marines forced out of the military…” I’m guessing that as a Marine, this would definitely apply to you as much as to any former sailor.

      But you’re right, if there’s no documentation of the real reason you were discharged, then there may well be no way to have it reversed.

  • greenmanTN

    8 years of Obama and I swear the world seems like a different place. Just think about it for a minute- the President before Obama was George W Bush, and you kind of got used to be hated, didn’t you? And now the Justice Department and the military is saying “Howdy! Glad you’re here!”

    It’s almost enough to give you whiplash.

    • Mark

      It is amazing when you look back on it. It’s also amazing how one insect (W + his heartless boss) can damage so much grain…..

    • billbear1961
    • StraightGrandmother

      We have hears Loretta Lynch say numerous times and Obama too, “You are not alone”

      • greenmanTN

        Not to overexaggerate, but it’s like breathing air for the first time in 15 years. Wow, I’m not hated? This feels… Different.

        Btw, SGM, I really appreciate your input and perspective on this board. This is just the first time I had a chance to say so! 🙂

  • oikos

    ..

    • Schlukitz

      Beautiful graphics.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Looks great on my Retina display! Thx, Oikos!

  • Schlukitz

    This is a brand new post that I just came across at 8 am this morning (it wasn’t here when I checked at 1:30 this morning before going to bed), yet the majority of posts on here are already 8 to 12 old.

    I don’t get it???

    • Sam_Handwich

      it was here last night, well before i went to bed. maybe your browser didn’t refresh properly when you checked at 1:30

      • Schlukitz

        Aha. Thank you for clarifying that for me. You’re a Prince of a man. 🙂

  • Elliott

    I was a child during the ’80s and learned about the world in that context. I learned that I was a sinner, that sex = death, and that despite my father (and eventually my brother and sister) had served in the army, I wasn’t worth protecting–I wasn’t the right kind of American. I knew I was gay from a very early age, and those messages, my early understanding of my “place”, eventually led to my cynicism and admitted disdain for the armed services. In my mind, they seemed like a government-sanctioned, weaponized fraternity house, who I had to respect because they were putting their lives on the line for the rest of the others, the people I loved. God, how life can surprise! I’ve had such a change of heart, and it’s because of news like this. People change, attitudes change, and what’s normal is never the same. It may sound kinda weird, but I’d like to apologize for my prejudiced sentiment I’ve held against those in uniform for so long. I’m sorry for not understanding that people, collectively, have good intentions, and that they will ultimately surface, and become the new, expected definition of dignified behavior. All of which is to say, I guess, thank you for fighting for what’s right from the inside, and for having the courage to do what I couldn’t. Thank you.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Thx for beautiful and interesting post, Elliott!

  • Hank

    Everyone deserves their benefits and respect back!!!

  • NMNative

    Thank you Mr. President.

  • A very important step indead and great to see. I hope people hear about this and take advantage of it.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    Great news, everyone! Thank you US Navy!!!