AMERICAN VETERANS FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
BATAAN CHAPTER - NEW MEXICO
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The Official Website of AVER New Mexico - Bataan Chapter
Throughout history gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. They took an oath to support and defend its Constitution against enemies, foreign or domestic. We believe it is the right of these Americans to express personal aspects of their lives, and in particular, aspects of their sexual orientation or gender identification. Furthermore, they should be allowed to do this in an environment free from harassment or discrimination in order to fulfill their potential to the fullest. Our members have worked as individuals or within cohesive units while serving our country in either war of peace. In doing so, we have accumulated distinguished records of military service that demonstrate our patriotism. We are active duty personnel, reservists, and veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. In pursuit of common goals we proudly join together as the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).

We believe it is everyones right as a US citizen to serve in our military without discrimination, harrasment, or injury from another individual, group, organization, and politics.
HEADLINES!
New Mexico Legislative Session 2024
We are fortunate in living in New Mexico. For the most part, we are a tolerant and accepting society here. The Bataan Chapter keeps abreast of any new legislation working through the 2024 session that can affect both the veterans and the LGBTQ communities.

It is still early in the process and only a few bills that can affect us has been introduced. Watch out for:

HB 296, Parental Bill of Rights Act. In it on page 10 is
"L. the right to know if a school employee or
contractor acts to:
       (1) change a minor child's gender markers,
             pronouns or preferred name; or
       (2) allow a student to change the student's
             sex-based accommodations, including locker rooms or bathrooms:"

SB 221, Diversity Act opens with:
"RELATING TO STATE PERSONNEL; ENACTING THE DIVERSITY ACT;
CREATING THE CHIEF DIVERSITY OFFICER WITHIN THE STATE PERSONNEL
OFFICE; CREATING DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION LIAISONS WITHIN STATE
AGENCIES; CREATING THE WORKFORCE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
COUNCIL; PROVIDING DUTIES; REQUIRING STATE AGENCIES TO DEVELOP
AND IMPLEMENT POLICIES TO IDENTIFY, ASSESS AND DECREASE
INSTITUTIONAL RACISM; PROVIDING CRITERIA BY WHICH STATE
AGENCIES SHALL IMPLEMENT SUCH POLICIES; REQUIRING AN ANNUAL
REPORT; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION."
Bataan Chapter Tours and Presentations
After discussions with the members of the chapter, we have decided to add some tours and presentations in place of our normal general meetings. Now, who doesn't want more fun. So we have added a tour of the ABQ Balloon Museum instead of our March meeting, hopefully a presentation by the LGBTQ Coordinator from the VA Hospital during our April meeting, a picnic or bbq instead of our September meeting and a presentation from the NM Dept of Aging regarding LGBTQ Veteran Elder services and information during our October meeting. Watch for an email with more details on each of these when we get closer to the event.
Pride - Pride - Pride!
It is turning out to be a very busy Pride season for us.

First up is the Isotopes Baseball game where we will present colors for their opening ceremonies. This is on Saturday, June 1st.

On Sunday, June 2nd, the chapter will present colors and have a booth at Los Ranchos Pride.

Immediately following, we will be at the ABQ Pride Candle Light Vigil, the pre-festival, have our color guard in the parade and have a booth during ABQ Pride Festival and Parade: all on Thursday through Saturday, June 6 - 8.

Sometime in June, we should be presenting colors for the opening ceremonies for the Pride events for the NM United Soccer game. Details to come.

We are working with Kirtland Airforce Base on it's Pride event sometime in June. Watch for details!

Also during June, we are looking at be part of the Albuquerque South Valley Pride event.

At the end of June, we will be again up in Santa Fe for the SF Pride on the Plaza festival and parade on Saturday, June 29th.

We are investigating how it will look for us to attend Southern New Mexico Pride held in Las Cruces in late October.

This is going to be a busy Pride season for us.
Operation Pushback
The 2024 Get Out the Vote Campaign will be kicking into high gear come January, 2024. We as LGBTQ+ Veterans, active duty and reservists, their families, our community, and our allies have much riding on this election. We as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization can not endorse any candidate that is running during this election. WE CAN however discuss issues that affect us. AVER and the Bataan Chapter will keep abreast of the issues and bring them forward. Who you vote for is your business, just be aware of the issues, direction, and changes that will happen as a result.

The image above is the logo we used for our national convention this past fall. It is appropriate to use for our campaign to get out the vote. We will be looking at the issues that affect us as both a veterans and the LGBTQ community. This will occur on the federal, state, and local levels. Stay tuned for what may (will) be an interesting year for politics.