ABOUT THE MILITARY EDUCATION INITIATIVE (MEI)
The Military Education Initiative (MEI) represents
a first-ever effort to educate America’s 27 plus
million Veterans on the facts surrounding the contributions
of gay, lesbian, and other sexual minority Americans
to our nation’s armed forces.
There are some 478 military associations representing
Veterans and active duty personnel on a wide variety
of issues. These organizations are appropriately held
in high regard by the American public and our elected
officials. According to the Urban Institute’s Population
Studies Center, fully one million of America’s
Veterans are gay or lesbian.
The extensive research and studies conducted in recent
years provides compelling new evidence regarding the
gays-in-the-military issue. America’s Veterans
need to know about this helpful information so that
they may best execute their special role as emissaries
between the military and our nation’s citizens.
The faces and voices of gay and lesbian service members
and Veterans have been largely absent from the public
discourse over the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,
due to the policy’s rules forbidding gay troops
from being public about their lives. The result has
been that America’s Veteran community has been
denied the opportunity to know the very people whose
lives are most directly impacted by the Don’t Tell
MEI believes that the stories of ordinary gay and lesbian
Veterans are an important component in the effort to
educate the broader Veterans community about the realities
of Don’t Tell. Along with the research and other
empirical data MEI will be providing to Veterans, we
will also begin the long overdue effort to share with
Veterans the lives and experiences of their one million
gay and lesbian comrades.
MEI is an Atlanta-based non-profit project whose mission
is to engage in a dialogue on gays in the military with
America’s 27 plus million military veterans, and
the Veterans Service Organizations and Military Associations
that represent them, to enhance their understanding
of the gays-in-the-military issue.
IN THIS SECTION
Learn more about this first-ever effort to educate American
Veterans about the contributions of American gay, lesbian,
and other sexual minority servicemembers.
MEI’S FIRST SIX MONTHS
This letter from MEI Board Chairman, Jeff Cleghorn,
recounts the organization’s first-year accomplishments.
Retired Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard,
Vincent W. Patton, III, encourages all American Veterans
to take a hard look at the new evidence on military
service by gays and lesbians. (web
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