Vets for the People
Vets for the People, a project of the far-left Working Families Party, asserts “warmongers, white supremacists, and corporate politicians” exploit veterans. Vets for the People recruits ex-military members to be spokespersons for the group and specifically looks for vets who are ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQ people, and immigrants.
Triste Ordex, national organizer for Vets for the People, has a background in Texas Democratic Party politics. During an interview about her organization, she asserted America’s class system exploits poor people and compels them to join the military. Ordex argued that the military subjects women, LGBT people, and ethnic minorities to “vicious harassment, violent assault, and worse.”
Such arguments build a platform for a more woke military.
The organization says the military disciplinary system is unjust, and thus does not see a distinction between honorably discharged and dishonorably discharged veterans.
Vets for the People endorses political candidates that support a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour, socialized health care, increased social services, open borders, environmentalist policies, government-mandated family and medical paid leave, and reduced incarceration.
The organization participated in a 2021 rally in support of extending the eviction moratorium from the COVID-19 pandemic. The group also opposed Florida’s House Bill 1 in 2021, which barred protestors from blocking roadways and increased penalties for crimes committed during the protest. The organization claimed the law would disproportionately harm minorities.
LGBTQ Military Groups
Numerous organizations are advocating for LGBTQ policies in the military. These organizations were likely enthused by the news in 2022 that Ramstein U.S. Air Base in Germany had scheduled a drag queen story hour at its base library for children and that the Navy released a training video to help sailors understand pronoun use, but it was cancelled after a public backlash.
SPARTA is a 501(c)(3) organization that advocates for transgender people in U.S. military. SPARTA says its membership is “Open to all transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces, SPARTA further extends support communities for the families, veterans, and allies of transgender service members.”
The organization asserts there are 1,400 transgender service members.
The organization claims it works to “educate commanders, legislators, fellow service members, and the public about transgender service concerns, best practices, and the benefits of a diverse and representative military.”
The president and board chair of SPARTA is Emily Shilling, a Navy commander serving as an Aerospace Engineering Duty Officer with NAVAIR outside Washington, DC. The organization says Shilling is the “first trans-identifying individual to regain her Naval Flight Clearance to fly high-performance tactical jets post-transition in Feb 2023.”
In August 2023, SPARTA issued a warning to military personnel and veterans about living and even getting medical care in the state of Florida, claiming that laws recently enacted by the state make it a dangerous state for transgender members of the military:
SPARTA has withheld such recommendations previously, recognizing service members can fulfill their duties anywhere in the world. They have done so proudly for over 200 years and continue to do so in duty stations worldwide and ships sailing all the world’s oceans.
However, here at home, the state of Florida has created circumstances that pose legal challenges and hazards to our nation’s military members, even while they defend our nation’s freedoms.”
The Modern Military Association of America, a 501(c)(3) organization, claims to be the largest LGBTQ servicemember organization in the country. It represents active-duty members, veterans, spouses, and family members.
Two organizations—the American Military Partner Association and OutServe-SLDN—merged in May 2019 to create the Modern Military Association of America (MMAA). The group said it was in response to the Trump administration’s transgender military ban the previous month. It named Navy veteran Andy Blevin, who was previously head of OutServe, as the first executive director of MMAA. The MMAA also says the merger was the “result of decades of work for the LGBTQ+ and HIV+ military and veteran community.”
Although an advocacy group for U.S. military and veterans, the organization claims to have more than 85,000 people in a worldwide network of members and supporters. The MMAA filed four major lawsuits against the Trump administration:
- In the case of Karnoski v. Trump, the MMAA and Lambda Legal sued in federal court over the transgender military ban. The lawsuit represented six currently serving members of the armed services and three who sought to enlist.
- In Roe and Voe v. Esper, the MMAA and Lambda Legal sued over the Air Force’s involuntary separation of airmen with HIV.
- In the case of Harrison v. Esper, the MMAA and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of Army Sgt. Nick Harrison, who was denied a position in the Judge Advocate General Corps because current policy considers servicemembers living with HIV non-deployable.
- In the case of Deese and Doe v. Esper, the MMAA and Lambda Legal sued on behalf of former Navy midshipman Kevin Deese and former Air Force cadet “John Doe,” who were denied commissions based on their HIV status.
The group scored a victory when the Biden administration ended the long-standing policy prohibiting HIV-infected individuals from serving in combat zones. Previously the Pentagon cited the need for HIV medication and the risk of shared blood in combat zones as reasons to prevent them from being in combat.
The MMAA claims it opposes the “torrent of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and policies that are making our states less equitable and actively harming our communities.” The organization asserts that in 2022 more than 200 “anti-LGBTQ+” bills were introduced in state legislatures. The MMAA claims the number of bills increased to 500 in 2023.
The MMAA leads the Rainbow Shield Certification, which it describes as an online certification program that provides training and “culturally specific and trauma-informed linguistic, administrative, and environmental resources and knowledge for agencies and corporations to effectively work with LGBTQ+ and HIV+ military and veteran communities.”
American Veterans for Equal Rights advocates for current and former service members. The organization also claims the same superlative as the MMAA, but with qualifiers, referring to itself as the “oldest and largest chapter-based, all-volunteer national” LGBTQ group advocating for active-duty military and veterans. The group says it is the nation’s only LGBTQ veterans service organization that is recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The organization boasts of successfully advocating for the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy in the U.S. military. Yet AVER warns:
Despite the fact that transgender veterans were on the front lines of the fight to end DADT, transgender service members did not benefit from the DADT repeal. AVER’s mission of inclusion will not be complete until transgender patriots are allowed to serve honorably beside other members of the military. We will leave no one behind.
AVER has active chapters in Albuquerque; Chicago; Miami/Ft. Lauderdale; New York City; San Antonio and Austin, Texas; Atlanta; central and northeastern Ohio; the metropolitan area of Washington, DC; Indianapolis; Phoenix; Denver; St. Louis; Los Angeles; Palm Springs; Sacramento; and Seattle.
In the next installment, Service Women’s Action Network champions the Biden administration’s policy of paying for military women to travel to other states to have an abortion.