WASHINGTON - Iraq war veteran Eric Alva speaks about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," losing his leg in a landmine incident and why he decided to come out as gay during an interview in the latest issue of the Human Rights Campaign's quarterly magazine, Equality.
Alva - the first U.S. service member wounded in the Iraq war - says he realized while recovering from the landmine incident that he had earned the right to live a life free of discrimination, like any other U.S. citizen. Alva, who resides in San Antonio with his partner, also talks about why he is now speaking out publicly for equality.
"I had an obligation to myself and my partner, and the rest of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, to stand up and speak out about our deserved rights. That was the main reason I was fighting in the armed forces: for the rights and freedoms of all Americans," he says in the interview. Alva, who served in the Marines for 13 years, is now a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign.
He also talks about serving in the military under its anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and about being accepted by his fellow Marines who knew he was gay.
Also in the new issue of Equality are interviews with singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and the star of the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, Jennifer Holliday. And ex-NBA player John Amaechi, who is gay, also sits down for a chat.
Another article in the issue reviews the growing momentum on Capitol Hill behind key bills on workplace discrimination against GLBT employees as well as hate crimes protections.
In addition, a right-wing litigation group, the Alliance Defense Fund, comes under scrutiny for its under-the-radar, anti-gay work under the guise of "religious freedom" in law schools and courts - and in a special National Litigation Academy that trains attorneys in "religious freedoms."
Equality magazine, distributed free to HRC's members, is a 40-page quarterly publication.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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