DADT Activist Jose Zuniga Endorses SPART*A
DADT Activist Jose Zuniga Endorses SPART*A
Military Equality Pioneer Gives Personal Statement in Support of New LGBT Military Organization
Washington, D.C., July 26, 2013 – A former Sixth Army Soldier of the Year and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal activist announced today his endorsement of the LGBT military organization SPART*A—Service members, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, which was launched earlier this week by actively serving LGBT service members and veterans.
“I endorse Service members, Partners, and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPART*A), a new membership association whose mission and priorities embrace the importance of taking a holistic approach to serving our active duty service members and veterans,” Zuniga said.
Zuniga also joined SPART*A’s Advisory Board and was voted in unanimously by the Board of Directors this year. Names of the other members will be announced next week.
Zuniga came out as an openly gay man, while serving on active duty, following President Bill Clinton’s announcement that he intended to repeal the World War II era military’s ban on homosexuals in the service.
“While the result of that action [his coming out], and those of numerous other courageous gay and lesbian service members, was regrettably not what we had advocated for, we prevailed almost two decades later in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, thus making possible open service for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members.”
Zuniga continued: “As much as we rightly celebrated that hard-won victory, there remains today much work left undone, not the least of which, alongside the issues of securing benefits for same-sex couples and preparing the path for transgender service, are the everyday needs of our active duty service members and veterans. These needs run the gamut from professional development, to health care and promotion, as well as ensuring that those individuals who elect to serve openly are protected from discrimination and stigma.
As important, I am proud to serve on SPARTA’s interim Advisory Board, with the hope that this grassroots, member-based association can help ensure respect and tolerance for all by advancing activities that promote a culture of inclusion within the military and deliver much-needed services to its members.
For more information about Zuniga see his biography:
Dr. José M. Zuniga was appointed President of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) in December 1999. Prior to his appointment, he served as IAPAC’s Vice President, charged with advancing the association’s international portfolio of medical education and technical assistance initiatives. Immediately prior to joining IAPAC, Dr. Zuniga served as Director of Communications at the AIDS Action Council in Washington, DC, USA, this following four years of service in the US Army, including combat duty in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Dr. Zuniga’s academic credentials include a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) in International Health Policy; and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Development and Social Policy. He lectures at various academic institutions; has been published in various journals; authored thematic chapters for several books; and served as Editor of numerous others, including “The HIV Pandemic: Local and Global Implications” (Oxford University Press, 2006); “Decade of HAART: The Development and Global Impact of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy” (Oxford University Press, 2008); and “Advancing the Human Right to Health” (Oxford University Press, 2013). He is also Editor of the bimonthly, peer-reviewed, MEDLINE-indexed Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC).
Dr. Zuniga serves on a number of advisory bodies, including the IAPAC Board of Trustees and the Humanitas Foundation Board of Directors. He is a technical consultant for various public policy institutes, including the Collaborative Institute of Virology and the Jonathan Mann Institute on Health and Human Rights. He also routinely advises intergovernmental agencies such as the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). He is a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA).
Dr. Zuniga is married to Mr. John Charles, with whom he resides in Arlington, Virginia.
About SPART*A: SPART*A is a group of LGBT people who currently serve or have served in the military and our families as well as veteran and uniformed allies. We are a membership organization, built by, for and with members from all parts of the LGBT military community. SPART*A’s mission is to advocate for and support our actively serving LGBT military members and veterans, and their families, while working to ensure that the military enforces equal opportunity protections fairly to all.