We sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device, which enable this website to work properly and remember your preferences. You can delete all cookies already on your device and you can set most browsers to prevent them from being placed, however some functionalities may not work.

California the first state to dedicate memorial for LGBTI veterans

2018 09 19 lgbtmemorial

The Desert Memorial Parks’ LGBTI Veterans Memorial located in Cathedral City has been dedicated as the state’s official memorial for LGBTI veterans and is the first of its kind in the United States of America.

The legislation was introduced by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia who said that it was an honour to play a role in being able to help California continue to lead in equality and inclusion, and recognised the efforts since the early 2000's to accomplish this historic feat.

“The sanctioning of this first of its kind, veteran memorial demonstrates our immense gratitude for the valiant contributions of LGBTQ veterans, true American patriots, who placed their lives on the line to defend the liberties we enjoy daily," said Garcia.

"Their sacrifices, in spite of obstacles and facing discrimination, more than merit the honor of a dedicated memorial site and sacred space for their loved ones to mourn the loss of these heroes."

While Australia does not presently have a similar memorial, in 2015, DEFGLIS renewed the commemoration of service and sactifice of LGBTI service members by laying rainbow wreaths on Anzac Day.

AMVETS Post 66 Founder/Commander and longtime LGBTQ advocate, Tom Swann Hernandez had been instrumental on both this legislative endeavor and the memorial’s genesis.

“California is leading the nation by honoring the heroes, many of whom have had to die in silence because they were forced to conceal their sexual orientation," said Hernandez.

The Palm Springs Cemetery District Board’s vote to approve this very controversial proposal came nine years before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but was vetoed by the state government.

Palm Springs Cemetery District Trustee, Lenny Pepper said that the monument in question was proposed like all others on our grounds; in this instance, to pay tribute to LGBTI Americans, patriots who served their country proudly.

"A profound truth of Cemeteries in general and Desert Memorial Park in particular, is that all who are at eternal rest within our boundaries, have equal status,” said Pepper.

The City of Cathedral City, sponsor of AB 2439, holds a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign for diversity, was the first city in the Coachella Valley to pass a gender-neutral bathroom ordinance as well as to establish a Rainbow Crossing outside their civic center and now they will become the first city in the nation to house an officially designated LGBTQ Veteran Memorial.

The historic memorial, the first of its kind in the entire United States, will be a place for family, friends, and residents to gather in paying tribute to and find solace in their memory.

Image by California State Assembly Democratic Caucus

About the Author
Author: Staff Writers
Contributors from the DEFGLIS membership, community and the Australian Defence Force.
Also written by this author:

2016 05 10 ReflectionsThumb

StoreGraphic2

Latest News

The Power of Reflection: Anzac Day 2019

DEFGLIS Board member Karen Dwyer reflects on her connection to ANZAC Day I've been in the Navy for more than 12 years and over those years, my understanding and connection to the...

Read more

Transgender personnel provide outstanding military service in Australia

For over eight years, transgender people have served openly in a range of operational roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force. DEFGLIS President Nathan White said that transgender members enhance...

Read more

New Year, New President

The DEFGLIS board has elected Nathan White to become president and lead important support for LGBTI members of the Australian Defence Force and their families. White was joined by four new...

Read more

DEFGLIS Christmas Message 2018

As the year draws to a close, DEFGLIS has an opportunity to reflect on our successes, our challenges and our opportunities. We reflect on great events like our participation in...

Read more

Experience in management, communication or support?

Become a volunteer