Upgrading Your Discharge
If you received a less than honorable discharge you should fight for an upgrade. The Modern Military Association of America and Military Law Task Force are the best places to begin. If you were discharged and suffer PTS due to sexual assault in the military, contact the VA for assistance.
It can be difficult to decide how to deal with unfairness or injustice. (Discharged for being gay, denied service or care because you are gay?) The legal basis for decisions is grounded in the constitution which guarantees liberty and justice for all. It is grounded in equal protection under the law. When those rights are not supported by actions, laws or regulations it creates an opportunity to act.
Considerations when choosing to use the legal system include deciding if the case has one beneficiary or if the case will have a broader social impact. The distinction is significant because it determines how to find legal assistance.
Seeking Legal Help
Interviewing to find the attorney can be an intimidating venture. Frequently their office is in a downtown area, multiple office skyscrapers, but more significantly it is very costly. When funds are an issue, many legal firms expect their lawyers to donate (pro bono) legal expertise. The internet provides more information about this type legal help. You have to ask for pro bono assistance.
As you evaluate your own case, think about its social impact. Will your case, if won, impact other people, challenge rules, regulations or laws? If your case has a broader impact, there are organizations which may be willing to represent you.
To change laws, legal organizations need to have a credible client to take through the legal system. It can be intimidating both to seek legal assistance and go through the process. In the long run taking on the system is well worth the journey. Your case will change the world.
Organizations offering to assist with advancing civil rights:
Lambda Legal: https://www.lambdalegal.org/
National Center for Lesbian Rights: https://www.nclrights.org/
Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/
American Civil Liberties Union: https://www.aclu.org
Military Law Task Force: nlgmltf.org/
Modern Military Association of America: modern military.org
hange in your discharge characterization could open doors for you and your family with a multitude of benefits.
Thank you for your service,
Colonel (retired) Margarethe Cammermeyer