Nov 18, 2019
This week on MIA Radio, we
interview US Navy Veteran and Co-Founder of Minority Veterans of America,
Lindsay Church. Lindsay served from 2008-2012 as a Cryptologic
Technician Interpretive (Linguist). During her time in the service,
she attended language school at the Defense Language Institute in
Monterey, CA where she learned Persian-Farsi. After spending two
years at a cyber intelligence command, she left the Navy and
returned home to Seattle.
Upon returning home, Lindsay attended the University of
Washington where she earned her BA in Near Eastern Language and
Civilization and Islamic Studies and an MA in International Studies
– Middle East. At the University of Washington, Lindsay co-founded
the office of Student Veteran Life, where she also served as the
University Liaison for the Student Veterans of
In 2017, Lindsay started the Minority Veterans of
America to ensure there is a community of support around the
underrepresented veterans so that we may see the true diversity of
the U.S. military reflected in our veteran communities.
- How Lindsay was enlisted in 2008 under “Don’t Ask Don’t
Tell” and served all but three months of her time in the Navy
under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
- That Lindsay is a third-generation Navy veteran with many
family members also serving.
- How during her Navy career she had multiple health issues
arising from an inverted sternum, but a surgical procedure was
botched and she experienced multiple complications, spending 5 days
in ICU with a collapsed lung.
- How within 18 months of enlisting she had been prescribed 16
different medications including painkillers, antidepressants and
- How she then had to endure a number of further surgeries but
managed to complete language school in spite of the surgeries and
- Lindsay recalls being amazed that she is alive considering the
cocktail of meds she was prescribed.
- How she came to be stuck for six months at a medical barracks
in San Diego.
- That Lindsay got to a point in 2010 where she felt that she
couldn’t go on.
- That she was being transitioned between Klonopin, Effexor,
Valium and Zoloft almost every month which led to intense suicidal
thoughts and how she considered jumping from a fifth-floor
- That she recalls asking for psychological support but instead
only received more psychiatric drugs.
- How Lindsay made the decision in 2010 to get off the
antidepressants and then in 2011 came off the opioids and has
refused painkillers since, finally in 2012 she came off the
- Lindsay says that it hurts to have realized that suicidal
thoughts occurred during times of being switched between
psychiatric medications, and changes her way of viewing past events
in her life.
- How Lindsay notes that it is very easy to get referred into
psychiatry and onto the drugs but very difficult to find
appropriate psychological support.
- That Lindsay moved back to Seattle after leaving the Navy in
2012 and is thankful her mom is a veteran, as she helped her
navigate the VA.
- How Lindsay’s experiences both with the military medical system
but also witnessing pervasive misogyny, racism and homophobia in
the American Legion, led her to resign her position and to co-found
the Minority Veterans of America.
- How she found that female veterans are 2.2 times more likely to
die by suicide than their civilian counterparts and LGBTQ veterans
are 2 times more likely to die by suicide than their civilian
- That she now works with people of color, women, LGBTQ and
religious and non-religious minorities, many of whom are
disenfranchised from the veteran community, so the goal is to bring
people into a supportive community to break the isolation, because
isolation is a killer.
- How important social engagement is to address the isolation
felt by minority veteran communities.
- That as regards herself, she is working on reaching the person
that she was five years ago when she didn’t think that she belonged
or that her story was unique, or even worthy of even being
- That if readers want to know more they can visit MinorityVets.org which is a
- How she feels that we don’t have another three to five years to
address the suicide epidemic amongst the veteran community,
Congressional action is needed now.
Please Support Us:
Our work is made possible by the generous support of our
readers. To make a donation please visit this page. Thank you.