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  WINDY CITY TIMES

New York State veterans' services trained in LGBTQ cultural competency
2019-10-02

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WASHINGTON — Today, the Modern Military Association of America ( MMAA ) — the nation's largest non-profit organization for the LGBTQ military and veteran community — announced that it will provide LGBTQ and HIV+ competency training through its Rainbow Shield certification program to the entire New York State Division of Veterans' Services. All of the division's employees will receive the MMAA Rainbow Shield cultural competency training designed to help educate and empower providers and advocates who serve the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community. The state of New York will become the first in the nation with all of its veterans' services staff certified through the program.

"We're proud to work with the state of New York to help ensure their services providers have a greater understanding of the unique challenges the LGBTQ military and veteran community face," said MMAA Executive Director and Navy veteran Andy Blevins. "Far too often, many in our community have experienced discrimination or harassment in settings where they should be met with respect and compassion. Through this training, the Modern Military Association of America is committed to educating service providers and ensuring misinformation and harmful stereotypes do not prevent the LGBTQ military and veteran community from receiving the care and services they need and deserve."

"New York has always led the way in human rights and ensuring all people are treated with dignity and respect. In keeping with Governor Cuomo's leadership and commitment to serving inclusively, for all New Yorkers, certifying the Division's staff through Rainbow Shield cultural competency training positions New York State as the first state in the nation certified to best serve the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community. It also reaffirms our dedication to providing the very best services to all those who served and their families," said Director of the New York State Division of Veterans' Services and Army veteran Jim McDonough.

Topics to be covered in the MMAA Rainbow Shield certification program include an overview of the history and demographics of the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community; terminology and common experiences of the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community; myths and stereotypes that impact how LGBTQ and HIV+ people are seen and treated in society, including how to recognize and see past harmful representations; and policies impacting LGBTQ and HIV+ service members, veterans, and their families.

The New York State Division of Veterans' Services advocates on behalf of New York's veterans and their families, as individuals and as a group, to ensure they receive benefits granted by law for service in the United States Armed Forces. The Division provides free benefits advising. Experienced and dedicated advisors — each a veteran — work in a network of field offices across the state and offer veterans and their families with professional help to resolve social, medical and economic matters.

The Modern Military Association of America ( MMAA ) is the nation's largest non-profit organization for LGBTQ servicemembers, military spouses, veterans and allies. Created through the merger of OutServe-SLDN and the American Military Partner Association, MMAA is a united voice for the LGBTQ military and veteran community. Find out more at www.ModernMilitary.org .

—From a press release


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