June 20, 2016
The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has hired a coordinator for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender veterans — a position it says is the first of its kind nationwide.
The position was created by Senate Bill 946, which passed easily in 2015. Nathaniel Boehme is a third-generation Air Force veteran airman who will provide outreach and assistance to Oregon’s LGBT veterans, their spouses and dependents. The existence of the position “speaks volumes as to Oregon’s commitment to veterans,” he said to lawmakers at a May 25th hearing. Boehme, comes to the ODVA after working for the military and nonprofits, with experience helping veterans in housing crises. He was deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom and is an active duty member of the Air National Guard.
One of Boehme’s responsibilities is making sure LGBT veterans have access to health care and other VA benefits.
Research shows that LGBT service members are more likely to experience physical and mental health problems related to the stress of deployment and reintegration compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
LGBT veterans with questions or seeking services are asked to email LGBTQVets@odva.state.or.us.