Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-12-07
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Eric Alva: Courage Under Fire
by Jean Albright
2007-10-31

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, along with Rochelle Crump, former Assistant Director of Veterans Affairs for the State of Illinois, will speak at the American Veterans for Equal Rights ( LGBT Veterans ) Veterans Day Dinner, Sun., Nov. 11, 5:30-9 p.m. at the Center on Halsted.

Alva was following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather when he joined the Marines at the age of 19. He had been a Marine for 13 years and was serving in Bagdad when—on March 21, 2003, the first day of Operation Iraqi Freedom—his right foot found a land mine next to his Humvee. One arm was shattered, and one leg was destroyed. Alva became the first casualty of the Iraq War.

On his return to the states and during the early days of his recovery, he was visited by and photographed with Donald Rumsfeld and other dignitaries. He was awarded a Purple Heart by the president. As he adapted to the loss of his leg and returned to health, he began public speaking on both military service and sports participation for the disabled. He appeared in and on everything from the Oprah Winfrey Show to People Magazine to the Runner Triathlete News.

In late 2006, he bagan to look for opportunities to support another group of which he had been a member—gays in the military. Although he was out and honest with many Marine friends, he said his gay identification had not figured as a primary consideration while he was serving.

'As a Marine, I was all about the work,' he said. 'If I ever decided to try to meet someone of the same sex for a relationship, I knew that would have to come later in my life.'

But, while still in the spotlight as the first injured Marine of the conflict, it bothered him that under the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy an average of two servicemembers a day, many of whom have key skills, were being discharged and that those facts are not widely understood.

In 2006, Alva's partner, Darrell Parsons, was already involved with the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and suggested that Alva offer his services to the organization.

'We were interested in the civil rights work and I sent an email asking if there was anything I could do. I assumed that it would be something like running a pride booth. After they'd looked into my credentials, they saw what the opportunity was and asked for a meeting.'

He has since traveled widely for speaking engagements and local and national media appearances. He was featured on the Legacy of Service Tour and spoke at the February reintroduction to the House of Representatives of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act.

In March, when Gen. Peter Pace, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ( JCS ) , said that he supported Don't Ask, Don't Tell based on his own beliefs that homosexual acts 'are immoral,' Alva was a prime candidate to respond.

These remarks by the chairman of the JCS, '…were disrespectful and insulting to the thousands of men and women who are serving in the military at this current time under the policy,' he told CNN's Paula Zahn.

As he has gone on to educate the public on the ramifications of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Alva said that few questions from the audience surprise him now but some do lead him to spend his time at home on research and getting deeper into related topics.

'You can tell by audience reaction that it is necessary, that it is news to them, by their eyes, their body language.' he said. 'It has been a blessing to survive the war and now to do this work, helping spread the word about what Don't Ask, Don't Tell really means in the lives of those affected by it.'

Some of those questions concern the future of the policy.

'As I watch the debates, and hear support from the Democratic candidates for overturning Don't Ask, Don't Tell—and none from the Republican ones—I'm looking for the next Commander in Chief, ' he said. 'Can they say, 'I support the troops, but, wait, no, if you are not straight, you cannot hope for the same things in life'?

'I've earned their thanks for my service, but how far does that go? This limitation shows that we still accept discrimination. We're attempting to be a model country for the rest of world, and gays serve openly and well in other countries. How much longer are we going be hypocritical?'

Tickets to the Nov. 11 event are $40, which covers cocktails and dinner. For info or reservations, call Jim Darby at 773-752-0058.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chelsea Manning vigil on Dec. 17 2016-12-06 - The GLN: Chicago-Area LGBTQA Liberation Network will host a vigil/march for Chelsea Manning on Saturday, Dec. 17 ( Manning's birthday ), at 5:30-8 ...


Gay News

VA cancels plans to provide transition surgery to trans veterans 2016-11-23 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - In response to the Veterans Administration's decision this week to cancel plans to provide transition surgery to transgender veterans ...


Gay News

31 retired military officers warn of dfforts to politicize personnel policy 2016-11-18 - In response to potential Trump administration members' comments this week targeting minority military members and calling for the elimination of merit-based personnel policies, ...


Gay News

LGBTQs mark Veterans Day 2016-11-12 - The American Veterans for Equal Rights ( AVER ) Chicago chapter hosted its 24th Annual Veterans Day Dinner Nov. 11 at Ann Sather ...


Gay News

Cyndi Lauper part of Nov. 12 veterans' concert 2016-11-09 - "America Salutes You"—a concert honoring those who serve in the military, veterans, and their families—will take place Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. ...


Gay News

Lauper part of Nov. 12 veterans' concert 2016-11-03 - "America Salutes You"—a concert honoring those who serve in the military, veterans, and their families—will take place Saturday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. ...


Gay News

Air Force woman's drone piloting trauma told in play Grounded 2016-10-18 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Grounded, by George Brant, is the story of a female Air Force pilot who is grounded after becoming pregnant ...


Gay News

MIDWEST LGBTQ HEALTH SYMPOSIUM Trans military officer recounts life 2016-10-12 - Day two of the Midwest LGBTQ Health Symposium, held at Advocate Illinois Medical Center in Lake View Oct. 7, began in dramatic fashion ...


Gay News

Trump's position on trans military service part of anti-LGBTQ platform 2016-10-03 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) civil ...


Gay News

Palm Center sees steady progress in integrating transgender service members 2016-10-03 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, released the following statement in response to the Defense Department's publication of ...


 



Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.

www.windycitymediagroup.com
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by LoveYourWebsite.com