NorthEastern Ohio American Veterans for Equal Rights

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American Veterans for Equal Rights is a Veterans Service Organization dedicated to the full equality of all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

May no sacrifice be forgotten


About NEOAVER and American Veterans for Equal Rights


"Don't Give Up The Ship!" - battle standard of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry

- standing motto of  NEOAVER

Because NorthEastern Ohio was so greatly affected by the War of 1812, specifically the Battle of Lake Erie, NEOAVER draws its motto from one of the battle's American commanders who refused to accept even absolute defeat - Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

After Captain James Lawrence, Commander of the frigate Chesapeake, was mortally wounded near Boston Harbor, he shouted, "Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!" A flag stitched the words "Don't Give Up The Ship" was presented to Oliver Hazard Perry, commander of the U.S.S. Lawrence, in 1813. When the Lawrence was destroyed in the Battle of Lake Erie, Perry was rowed out to the Niagara and he commanded it into the battle against the British.

At the 'ripe old age' of 28, commanding the Niagara, Perry met and defeated the British, and hence we take heart in the words of our local naval hero, that one day soon we too will say: "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."

There are rather prominent monuments to Commodore Perry in Put-in-Bay, OH, Cleveland, OH, and Presque Isle State Park, PA. Reminders of the insurmountable odds overcome before us.

We won't give up until we have won the fight for servicemembers and veterans alike. Our fight does not end simply when the Ban is Lifted. Lifting The Ban on open and HONEST LGBT military service is just the beginning, not the end.

Beyond "The Ban", are issues such as family rights for both servicemembers and veterans. This iceberg sits very low in the water. AVER has many missions, and we willingly take up our battle standards knowing fully that we have years of work ahead of us. Even after our immediate missions are accomplished, we must still carry the lamp forward - lest we allow those in command to tread backward in their steps through the opportunity of our dissolution. Ours is as much a long term stead, as any other Veterans Service Organization. As long as there are LGBT service members and veterans in need of larger and louder voices, we cannot give up the ship!


NEOAVER's missions

NEOAVER supports all of AVER's missions. In addition to these, we also have the following missions and goals:

  • To help Veterans obtain information, education and other entitlements through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Provide a network of contacts for medical, psychological, religious, or legal assistance outside of the DVA as appropriate, sensitive to LGBT issues.
  • To offer a community of Brothers and Sisters in Arms to those Veterans who may not be welcomed in other Veterans Service Organizations due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • To sponsor and support social events and educational programming both for our members and for the community.
  • To work with other LGBT service groups within the NorthEastern Ohio region to help increase STI education and prevent the spread of STI's.
  • We shall strive to remain free from internal conflict.


much of the information below is quoted and/or paraphrased from AVER

Discrimination 101: Concerning LGBT Service Members
  • Although it is now legal to be openly lesbian, gay, or bisexual in service, trans-Americans must still remain in the closet in order to serve their country, protecting the freedoms of others that they do not themselves enjoy.
  • Because of the "Defense Of Marriage Act," [LGBT] Service members and retirees cannot register their spouses for DEERS, reside in married quarters on base, etc.
  • [LGBT] same-gender-married disabled veterans cannot collect the Disability Compensation spousal allowance that their opposite-gender-married counterparts collect.
  • [LGBT] same-gender-married veterans cannot co-purchase a home with their spouses on a VA Home Loan Voucher because the federal government does not recognize their marriage.
  • [LGBT] Service members who were dishonorably discharged in the past due to their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity are not entitled to any veteran benefits unless they are able to obtain a Discharge Upgrade.


About AVER - American Veterans for Equal Rights

We are a veterans' social advocacy group. AVER assists active-duty personnel whenever possible with advice, legal referrals, personal support, and camaraderie. AVER chapters fight anti-gay discrimination in the Armed Forces. We speak to clinicians, student groups, church groups, veteran groups, the press, and other LGBT organizations.


AVER's Missions
  • End all forms of discrimination in the U.S. Military and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Provide counseling and support to those affected by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and/or the previous homosexuality ban.
  • End the discharge of transgender service members.
  • Provide wreath laying, Military Honor Guards at funerals and community events.


Preamble to the AVER National Constitution

Throughout our history gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirit Americans served in the Armed Forces. They took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies both foreign and domestic. We aver that it is the right of these Americans to express personal aspects of their lives, and, in particular, aspects of their sexual orientation and/or gender identification. Furthermore, they should be allowed to do this in an environment free from harassment and discrimination based on prejudice, fear, ignorance, or intolerance in order to fulfill their human potential to the fullest.

Working as individuals or in cohesive units with others, while serving our country in either war or peace, our members have accumulated distinguished records of military service that demonstrate a resolve and a commitment to cherished American ideals. We are active duty personnel, reservists, and veterans of the United States Air Force, Army, Army Air Corps, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Merchant Marine, National Guard, and Navy, or any reserve components thereof, or the various State Militia. In pursuit of common goals we proudly join together as the American Veterans for Equal Rights.