SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California’s LGBT military veterans are voicing their concerns at the state Capitol, with many vets saying they aren’t receiving the military benefits they were promised.
Gene Silvestri is one of many LGBT veterans either offering or looking for support from the California Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Although there’s progress, there’s still more progress that needs to be made,” he said.
Silvestri, discharged from the U.S. Army more than a decade ago as Pvt. Gloria Silvestri is now a disabled transgender veteran and LGBT advocate.
“There’s still discrimination going on within the military even though we’re post the DADT,” he said.
Don’t ask don’t tell required gay service members to hide their sexual orientation, or face possible military prosecution and dishonorable discharge. The policy was repealed under the Obama administration.
Cal Vet is using a forum at the Capitol to let LGBT veterans learn more about their restored honor and benefits.
“Now we have the capability to help them,” said Martha Villarre-Younger. “Upgrade that discharge so that they’re eligible for their benefits.”
Silvestri says even though the tolerance policy is on paper, the change needs to continue to evolve in the hearts and minds of military personnel around the globe.
“I am hopeful, but there’s always work that needs to be done. There’s always progress that needs to be made,” he said.