July 12, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Documentary Honors Los Angeles’ LGBTQ+ Vets for Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, some LGBT Senior Veterans at the Los Angeles LGBT Center shared their stories and experiences serving as LGBTQ+ service members in a documentary short film “Our Service, Our Stories.”

The film, which premiered in a screening on Friday, Nov. 8, explores the lives and unique perspectives of  LGBT veterans before, during, and after their military service, including Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and current military outposts.  

“For many of the participating veterans, it was their first time to position and hold a video camera or use digital editing software. This transformative project also helped them discover their artistic voices and express them to the world,” said the Center’s Director of Senior Services Kiera Pollock. “We salute our participants for committing to this creative project. Not only are they veterans, but they can now call themselves filmmakers!”

The 12 LGBT veterans ages 50+ began learning documentary filmmaking techniques—ranging from creative direction to interviewing and editing skills—in July from award-winning filmmaker Andrew Putschoegl, according to a press release. The participants interviewed fellow servicemembers during a recent Veteran Stand Down event hosted by the Center. A $16,200 grant from the California Arts Council, as part of its Veterans in the Arts program, helped to finance the film.

One participant was Warren Tymony, who said that he had a difficult time serving in the military as LGBTQ+. 

“My most vivid memory was the Military Sexual Trauma that was perpetrated on me by my Training Sergeant,” Tymony said. “I was just 18 years old, an innocent and trusting kid. All of that was shattered.”

VA uses the term “military sexual trauma” (MST) to refer to sexual assault or harassment experienced during military service, according to the Veterans Affairs website. MST includes any sexual activity that you are involved with against your will. Data from the VA’s national screening program reveals that about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 100 men respond “yes,” that they experienced MST, when screened by their VA provider.

Tymony said that after experiencing MST, he used his LGBTQ+ identity to be discharged. 

“I set up a gay scenario, let it be discovered, and received an administrative discharge known as General Under Honorable Conditions,” Tymony said. “Upon leaving military service, I discovered the LGBTQ community, and my place in it. I became an activist championing LGBTQ and minority civil rights causes.”

Tymony said that MST trauma had long-lasting affects. 

“In my case the MST trauma produced a two-fold result: [First,] Mental health issues, particularly PTSD symptoms, affected me to make negative, self-destructive choices in my adult life,” he said. “[Secondly,] Based on the anger resulting from the attack, I became a very strong, fearless individual willing to take on all comers and circumstances in my professional life and became a caretaker to those who were not able to defend themselves.”

According to the website, the VA provides free treatment for any physical or mental health conditions related to a Veteran’s experiences of MST. No documentation of the MST experience or VA disability compensation rating is required. Some Veterans can receive this free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care.

“I am pleased that the military has changed its stance to reject LGBTQ service members as a vital part of our country’s defensive forces,” Tymony said. “Regarding how far we still need to go, current LGBQ service members on duty should realize that their right to be themselves is guaranteed under current military policy. (Unfortunately, this right is not given to our transgender military brothers and sisters). We must continue to fight for our right to be our authentic selves in these times because those who came before you fought to guarantee that right for you. Be courageous, be strong, be fearless.”

Related Posts

Local Leaders Celebrate Supreme Court LGBT Discrimination Ban

June 16, 2020

June 16, 2020

Supreme Court votes 6-3 in case Bostock v. Clayon County, Georgia By Sam Catanzaro Los Angeles-area leaders are celebrating the...

City of West Hollywood’s ‘One City One Pride’ LGBTQ Arts Festival

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Features a ‘virtual platform’ for arts and cultural events: May 22 through June 30 By Staff Writer Each year, the...

North Hollywood Gay Latino Bar ‘Cobra’ Closed for Business

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020

Instead adopts virtual entertainment method By Toi Creel The effect of COVID -19 has not only taken a toll on...

LA Pride Pulls out of Black Lives Matter March Facing Backlash

June 10, 2020

June 10, 2020

LA Pride organizers face backlash after seeking police permit By Sam Catanzaro L.A. Pride will not be involved in an...

Requiring CA to Collect Data on COVID-19’s Health Impacts on the LGTBQ Community?

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Currently, California collects data on COVID-19’s impacts on different races/ethnicities; SB 932 would expand this data collection to include the...

How COVID-19 Impacts Black LGBTQ+ People

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Amidst horrifying racial disparities, “COVID While Black and Queer” is a new data initiative that will shine a light on...

PBS Celebrates Pride Month with PRIDELAND

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

Short-Form Digital Series and New One-Hour Special with Host and Actor Dyllón Burnside, Exploring LGBTQ+ Identity in the U.S. South...

Covid-19 & HIV: Who Are You Choosing To Be?

May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020

By Staff Writer A free zoom seminar this Friday, May 15, 2020 from 12:00-2:00pm. This weeks event covers Covid-19, HIV:...

CA Attorney General Urges FDA to Eliminate Bias Against Gay and Bisexual Men for Blood Donations

April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a multistate coalition in submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human...

Over 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Confirmed as WEHO’s Rate Continues to Rise

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed over 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus...

GLAAD to Host COVID-19 Event Featuring Pete Buttigieg and More

April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020

LAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced that Billy Porter, Pete &...

Over 500 Medical Professionals Sign Letter The FDA To Eliminate Ban On Gay And Bisexual Men Donating Blood

April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today released an open letter penned by over...

Lawmakers Ask State and Counties to Collect Data on LGBTQ Community and COVID-19

April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria, Chair and Vice-Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus respectively, sent...

WeHo’s High COVID-19 Rate

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

City of West Hollywood has highest rate of COVID-19 in LA Countywide, LGBTQ population at risk By Sam Catanzaro As...

Elderly LGBT people in California at high risk for COVID-19 illness

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

By Staff Writer 162,000 LGB and 9,000 transgender elderly people in California at high risk for COVID-19 illness, according to...