The Alexander Hamilton Post 448 was founded by Dr. Paul D. Hardman who was a gay rights activist in San Francisco. Early in l984 he advertised for other eligible veterans to join him in establishing a new post in the American Legion. The San Francisco War Memorial Veterans' Building was created by a trust for the exclusive benefit of San Francisco's military veterans.
When it became apparent that this prospective Post comprised mostly gay and lesbian veterans, members of some of the existing posts sought to block the charter to our group. Fortunately the community was San Francisco, which has non-discrimination ordinances, and the American Legion is housed in a city-owned building. Dr. Hardman had only to threaten suit and the other posts backed off, permitting the granting of a charter to the Alexander Hamilton Post in October l985.
The "good ole boys" who had been running the Veterans Building continued attitudes and acts of hostility and discrimination against Post 448 and its members, and in l987 the Post filed a lawsuit that involved legal action, resulting finally in a settlement in our favor. We won a restructuring of the War Memorial Commission, which governs the veterans space and rights in the SF Veterans Memorial Building to maintain representation from each San Francisco Post, including ours.
The Alexander Hamilton Post 448 is active in the local gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community. We participate in SF's annual Gay Pride Festival, the last week in June.
We also march in the City's Veterans Day Parade, and were among the first groups to carry the Rainbow Flag in such a parade anywhere in the U. S.
In l986 we provided a color guard to carry the flags of all the participating nations in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of Gay Games II.
In l987 we led the contingent of veterans and active service-personnel in the March on Washington For Gay Rights. Also that year we were the first openly gay veterans to place a wreath in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery to honor gays and lesbians who had died in service to their country.
In l993 we again led a group of GLBT veterans and Service members in yet another March on Washington.
In l994 we marched in the Stonewall 25 Parade in New York City.
In January 1996, our founder, Dr. Paul Hardman, died. Other members have continued his mission to secure acceptance, respect and equality for GLBT war veterans and service members, actively working for the repeal of the flawed "Don't ask. Don't tell." policy.
In December 2010, with the unwavering leadership of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, DADT was finally repealed. It afforded many members of the Armed Forces who had been serving silently the opportunity to serve with dignity and impunity and without fear of reprisal. On 20 September 2011, the Repeal was finally certified.
The Alexander Hamilton Post 448 realizes that the fight is not over. We will continue to fight for equality and serve our veterans wherever the need.