Photo of Bob Alexander

Robert Alexander

  • Hosted by Swords to Plowshares
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University
  • Issue area Veterans' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Approximately one million gay and lesbian Americans, and roughly 20 percent of the U.S. transgender population, are veterans. LGBTQ+ veterans face the challenges of intersectionality—meaning that they are affected by both veterans’ issues and LGBTQ+ rights issues simultaneously—and may be especially isolated from services due to their LGBTQ+ status. Even in San Francisco, which is home to the highest number of LGBTQ+ adults in the country, veteran service providers still lack the resources to provide tailored services to LGBTQ+ veterans, who experience higher rates of PTSD, substance abuse, and suicide than their straight and/or cisgender veteran counterparts.

Bob’s project aims to provide active outreach and tailored legal services to LGBTQ+ veterans in the San Francisco Bay Area, through community legal clinics and newly established Medical-Legal Partnerships.

Having previously served in the U.S. Air Force under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and its predecessor for over 20 years, Bob understands firsthand the additional burdens faced by LGBTQ+ service members. Post-DADT, Bob worked to smooth the transition as an out and visible LGBTQ+ senior officer, supporting his fellow LGBTQ+ service members after the repeal took effect. He became an attorney after retiring from the military to continue his public service, particularly on behalf of disenfranchised and underserved communities suffering the effects of intersectionality.

Fellowship Plans

  • Obtain VA accreditation to represent veterans before the VA.
  • Initiate contacts with the LGBTQ clinic, transgender coordinated care, and other mental health programs at the San Francisco VA for exposure to additional training, service models, and access to care issues.
  • Collaborate with the San Francisco Vet Center to establish a legal clinic and referrals on site.
  • Begin filing VA benefits and discharge upgrade claims and providing direct representation to LGBTQ veterans.
  • Initiate contacts with LGBT community organizations previously identified for mobile outreach activities.

Media

’16 Alumnus Selected for Prestigious Equal Justice Works Post Graduate Fellowship

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