LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

MILITARY
 

Pentagon Report Says Fears About Gays in the Military Were Vastly Overblown
Judge Rules US Military Can't Discharge HIV-Positive Troops

Lesbian Sues Military After She Was Told to Wear Makeup and Grow Long Hair
Biden Administration to Officially Recognize Trans & Non-Binary Veterans’ Genders
Gay Navy Vet's Widower Fights for Benefits in Historic Appeal
Update: Biden Lifts Trump's Trans Military Ban

Colin Powell Dies: Supporter and Then Critic of Don't Ask Don't Tell

LGBTQ Military Leaders to Salute on Veterans Day
Policies Concerning LGBTQ Members of the Military

LGBTQ Vets Discharged Dishonorably for Sexual Orientation to get Full Benefits
LGBTQ Service Members: Out and Proud

TED Talk: Gays in the Military

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

Biden Reverses Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Jody Davis: Veteran, Nurse, Transgender

Marine Corps Celebrates Pride, Puts Down Homophobes

President Biden Overturns Ban on Transgender Military Personnel

 

 

Update: US Navy Ship Harvey Milk

HRC Denounces Trump's Trans Troop Ban

Veteran's Day: LGBTQ People Share Stories of Celebration

CNN: Transgender Ban Goes Into Effect

BuzzFeed: Trans Troops Now Banned From US Military

Research: LGBTQ and Health Related Behaviors in US Military

Army Guy's Coming Out Story

First Black Female Gay Soldier to Pass Ranger School

Trans Service Members Make Public Statement at VMA Event

Military Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets
Same Sex Wedding at West Point

Transgender Video Documentary: At War and In Love

Maj Gen Patricia Rose: Highest Ranking LGBTQ Member of US Military

New Normal: Gay Interracial Military Weddings

I Was Called a Faggot My First Day in the Army

First Active-Duty Gay Couple Married at West Point

Gay Soldier Berated in Restaurant

 

US Navy Launches New Ship Named for Harvey Milk
 

The US Navy has launched a ship named after a gay rights activist forced to resign from the service because of his sexuality in the 1950s. The USNS Harvey Milk was launched in San Diego in November 2021 in a service attended by Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Milk's nephew, Stuart.

It is one of six new ships to be named after famed US civil rights leaders. Others include former Chief Justice Earl Warren and slain presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

Milk served as a diving officer and Lieutenant aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake during the Korean War. But he was forced out of the service following two weeks of interrogation about his sexuality in 1955.

 



He later became one of America's first openly gay politicians, elected in 1977 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But a year later he was shot and killed by Dan White, a former city supervisor with whom he had frequently clashed.

Speaking at the ceremony, Secretary Del Toro said that it had been wrong that Milk had been forced to "mask that very important part of his life" during his time in the Navy. "For far too long, sailors like Lt. Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy," Del Toro said. "That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice."

When the Obama administration first announced its intention to name a ship after Milk in 2016 some expressed opposition to the move. They suggested that Milk would have disapproved of lending his name to a Navy ship given his well known opposition to the Vietnam War.
 

[Source: BBC, November 2021]

 

BBC: US Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
NPR: US Navy Christens Ship Named After Slain Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
Advocate: US Navy Launches Ship Honoring Harvey Milk

USA Today: Navy Christens Ship USNS Harvey Milk, Named After Gay Rights Activist
CNN: US Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Activist Harvey Milk
LGBTQ Nation: Navy Officially Launches Ship Named After Gay Trailblazer Harvey Milk

NBC: Navy Launches Ship Named for Gay Rights Leader Harvey Milk
Video: Navy Launches Ship Named for Pioneering Gay San Francisco Leader Harvey Milk

 

Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in US History

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced in Oct 2021 that the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer across any of the eight uniformed services of the United States.

Admiral Rachel Levine, who serves as the HHS Assistant Secretary for Health and head of the US Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, was ceremonially sworn in as a four-star admiral. Admiral Levine now serves as the highest-ranking official in the USPHS Commissioned Corps and its first-ever female four-star admiral. Admiral Levine will lead 6,000 Public Health Service officers who are dedicated to serving our nation’s most underserved and vulnerable populations.

 



HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that making Levine an admiral is a proud moment for HHS. “She is a highly accomplished pediatrician who helps drive our agency’s agenda to boost health access and equity and to strengthen behavioral health,” Secretary Becerra explained. “She is a cherished and critical partner in our work to build a healthier America.

In response to becoming a four-star officer, Levine said, “This is a momentous occasion, and I am both humbled and pleased to take this role for the impact I can make, and for the historic nature of what it symbolizes. May this appointment be the first of many like it as we create a more inclusive future.”

In a recent interview, Levine provided an update to all the work she’s been doing during the first six months of her tenure as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services. “I’m very much enjoying the job. We have a fantastic staff, and Secretary Becerra is wonderful, sincere, and compassionate. I love collaboration, and that collaboration for the issues we’re working on extends all the way up to the president and vice president, and that’s something that Americans of every stripe should take great comfort with.”

[Source: John Casey, Advocate, Oct 2021]

 

Call Her Admiral Rachel Levine Now
Dr. Rachel Levine Is Now First Trans 4-Star Admiral in US History
Rachel Levine, Nation’s Highest-Ranking Openly Transgender Official, Sworn in as Four-Star Admiral

 

 

US Navy Officer: LT Pete Buttigieg

 

Openly gay South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was also in the military. Lieutenant Buttigieg served for seven months in Afghanistan as an Intelligence Officer in the US Navy Reserve. While deployed, he was assigned to the Afghan Threat Finance Cell, a counterterrorism unit that targeted Taliban insurgency financing.

 

Like many other presidential candidates Mayor Pete's campaign staff leaned hard on his seven-month deployment as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan as a powerful credential. In doing so, Buttigieg walks a narrow path between giving his wartime service its due and overstating it.

He is careful not to call himself a combat veteran even as he notes the danger he faced. As any candidate who has prior military service, Buttigieg expected intense scrutiny of his military record in a political climate where military service is far from sacred, as past attacks on the records of Republican John McCain and Democrat John Kerry show.

 

 

Buttigieg addressed the subject with reporters during his campaign. “It kind of felt like combat when the rocket alarm went off,” he said. “But I don’t feel prepared to use that term for myself.”  He volunteered for service and was quickly recognized for his intellect. Retired Col. Guy Hollingsworth chose Buttigieg as the lead analyst tracking the flow of money to terrorist cells in Afghanistan, information that would inform combat operations.

Though more of Buttigieg’s time in Afghanistan was spent working in a secured intelligence office as an officer in the US Navy Reserve, his dozens of trips outside US/NATO headquarters in the fortified Green Zone make him a combat veteran in the eyes of Hollingsworth, Buttigieg’s commanding officer. During these movements, Buttigieg, in body armor and an M4 rifle nearby, would typically drive a team of officials, navigating an armored SUV through Kabul’s chaotic streets. “That is the definition, going down range into a combat zone,” Hollingsworth said. “He is a combat veteran.”

“I don’t have to throw myself a military parade to see what a convoy looks like because I was driving in one around Afghanistan right about the time this president was taping season seven of Celebrity Apprentice,” Buttigieg told one audience in Des Moines.

 

[Source: Associated Press]
 

AP: Buttigieg Touts Military Service, Wary of Overstating Role

The Hill: Glimpse Into Pete Buttigieg's Military Service

CNN: Pete Buttigieg Touts Military Service on Campaign Trail

 

President Trump Bans  Trans Troops

 

In June 2017, President Donald Trump declared that transgender people weren’t fit to serve in any branch of the armed service in any capacity, citing a strain and distraction to the United States military readiness. His exact words were:

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

 

In April 2019, Trump's trans troop ban went into effect.

 

 
 

Trump Just Fired Me Because I'm Trans

HRC Denounces Trump's Trans Troop Ban

Judge Rebukes Trump Over Trans Military Ban

Research: LGBTQ and Health Related Behaviors in US Military

Resources for LGBTQ Military Families

CNN: Transgender Ban Goes Into Effect

Advocate: Trump's Military Ban Ignores Science to Inflict Harm

BuzzFeed: Trans Troops Now Banned From US Military

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

NPR: How Trans Troop Ban is Affecting One Military Family

Info: LGBTQ Police Officers and Firefighters

No Allies Here: Trump Bans Transgender People From Military

Pentagon Says Trans Troops Can Still Serve

Legal and Financial Considers: Gay and Lesbian Service Members

Transgender Ban: About Hate Not Money

Trump's Ban: Trans Veterans Respond

Defense Secretary Appalled by Trump's Announcement

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

Army Guy's Coming Out Story

Journey of an LGBTQ Military Spouse

Trans Military Ban: Joint Chiefs Respond

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Trans Service Members Make Public Statement at VMA Event

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military Service

 

Message for LGBTQ Troops from Secretary of Defense

 

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivered this LGBTQ Pride Month message on June 7, 2016:

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, an occasion that brings the LGBTQ community together with their famil
y, friends, and allies to take pride in themselves and their many achievements. The US Department of Defense recognizes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer service members and civilians for their dedicated service to the department and the nation.

 

Throughout our history, brave LGBTQ soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines have served and fought for our nation. Their readiness and willingness to serve has made our military stronger and our nation safer. We continue to take great pride in all that these men and women contribute to the department and our mission. Their hard work, courage, and sacrifices make them respected members of our diverse DOD family.

 



Through their service these Americans help ensure that we as a force embody the values we’re sworn to uphold. And that our republic, born from the idea that all are created equal, endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, will remain strong and secure. These words are more than a pinnacle to strive for, they are principles we must promote every day.

 

As we celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month together, let us take pride in all who step forward to serve our country. All who answer the call to service are doing the noblest thing they can do with their lives: to provide the security for others so they can dream their dreams, raise their children, and live full lives.

 

Pentagon Overturns Military's Ban on Trans Troops

Transgender Military Ban Lifted

Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Army Secretary

 

 

US Navy Ship to be Named After Harvey Milk

 

In July 2016, the US Navy has sent congressional notification that it intends to name a new oiler ship after slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The Navy is declining to comment further until the official naming announcement.  Harvey Milk was a San Francisco politician and gay rights activist. He was murdered in 1978.

 

Once commissioned, the USNS Harvey Milk would be part of the John Lewis-class oilers, a class named after Georgia Congressman and civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.  This particular class of vessels would be named after various leaders from the civil rights movement.

 

Milk, the first openly gay politician from California to be elected to office, served in the US Navy as a dive instructor in San Diego during the Korean War.

 

The oiler is a combat logistics ship that replenishes other ships at sea with fuel and other provisions such as food.

 

[Source: CNN]

 

LGBTQ Nation: Navy Ship to Be Named for Harvey Milk

Huffington Post: Navy is Naming Ship After Harvey Milk

CNN: US Navy to Name Ship After Harvey Milk

LGBTQ Nation: Navy Secretary Defends Decision to Name Ships After Civil Rights Icons

 

 

LGBTQ Military Members

Tammy Smith - US Army General
Reichen Lehmkuhl - US Air Force Officer
Pete Buttigieg - US Navy Officer

Rachel Levine - US Navy Admiral

Joseph Rocha - US Navy and Marine Corp 

Gary Ross - US Navy Officer
Jody Davis - US Army RN

Dan Choi - US Army Officer

Alan Rogers - US Army Officer

Kristin Beck - US Navy Seal

Patricia Rose - US Air Force Officer

Frank Kameny - US Army

Harvey Milk - US Navy Officer

Leonard Matlovitch - US Air Force

Catherine McGregor - Australian Army & Air Force Officer

Baron Friedrich von Steuben - US Revolutionary War Hero

 

Update: Biden Lifts Trump's Trans Military Ban

Policies Concerning LGBTQ Members of the Military

LGBTQ Service Members: Out and Proud

TED Talk: Gays in the Military

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

Biden Reverses Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Jody Davis: Veteran, Nurse, Transgender

Marine Corps Celebrates Pride, Puts Down Homophobes

President Biden Overturns Ban on Transgender Military Personnel

Info: LGBTQ Police Officers and Firefighters

 

Repeal of DADT Policy

 

 “By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will patriotic Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”

-Barack Obama

 

“Thank you Senators for pushing us one step closer towards full equality,”

-Ellen DeGeneres

 

"This is a stepping stone to further advances for the gay and lesbian community."

-Joe Solmonese / HRC President

 

 

The US Senate voted in December 2010 to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy by a 65-31 margin. This repeal of DADT reverses the US military's 17 year ban on gay men and women openly serving among their ranks.  DADT was made a law seventeen years ago and is the only US law that punishes people for simply telling the truth. Since the law went into effect, over 14,000 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged from our nation's military simply because they were gay or lesbian. An estimated 66,000 gays and lesbians are currently on active-duty.

 

Twenty-three studies over the past fifty years, including most recently a comprehensive study by the Pentagon, have concluded the same thing: that there would be no to minimal impact on force cohesion or unit readiness by allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military. Thirty-countries currently allow gays and lesbians to serve in their nation's armed forces.  Senator Joe Lieberman said, "This historic day has been seventeen years in the making and would not have happened without the leadership of Joe Solmonese and the Human Rights Campaign."

 

Policies Concerning LGBTQ Members of the Military

Lesbian Earns Major General Rank
What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

TED Talk: Gays in the Military

LGBTQ Service Members: Out and Proud

Info: LGBTQ Police Officers and Firefighters

What It's Like to Be a Gay Military Couple

Obama Appoints Gay Man as Undersecretary of Air Force

11 Major Milestones After the End of DADT

Research: LGBTQ and Health Related Behaviors in US Military

End of DADT Means Decision Time for Gay Troops

Journey of an LGBTQ Military Spouse

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military Service

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Resources for LGBTQ Military Families

Video: Lesbian Military Couple

 

 

Policies Concerning LGBTQ People in the Military

 

Throughout its history, the US Military has had an inconsistent policy when it comes to gay people in the military. Prior to World War II, there was no written policy barring LGBTQ people from serving, although any type of sodomy, regardless of sexual orientation, was considered a crime by military law, and this was frequently used to bar members of the LGBTQ community from serving.

LGBTQ Policies in the Korean War and Vietnam War
 

During World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, the military considered anyone that identified as part of the LGBTQ community to have a mental defect and officially barred them from serving based on medical criteria. However, when personnel needs increased due to combat, the military developed a habit of relaxing its screening criteria. Many gay people were admitted and served honorably during these conflicts. This did not eliminate discrimination, however, and these periods were relatively short-lived. As soon as the need for combat personnel decreased, the military would involuntarily discharge them.

1982 - Military Ban on Homosexuality


It wasn't until 1982 that the Department of Defense (DOD) officially put in writing that “homosexuality was incompatible with military service,” when it published a DOD directive stating such. It defined a homosexual person as someone "regardless of sex, who, engages in, desires to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.” And it defined a homosexual act as any “bodily contact, actively undertaken or passively permitted, between members of the same sex for the purpose of satisfying sexual desires.” According to a 1992 report by the Government Accounting Office, nearly 17,000 men and women were discharged under this new directive during the 1980s.
 


1993 - The Birth of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
 

By the end of the 1980s, reversing the military's policy was emerging as a priority for advocates of LGBTQ+ civil rights. Several lesbian and gay members of the military came out publicly and vigorously challenged their discharges through the legal system. By the beginning of 1993, it appeared that the military's ban on gay personnel would soon be overturned.

President Clinton announced that he intended to keep his campaign promise by eliminating military discrimination based on sexual orientation. But, this didn't sit well with the Republican-controlled Congress. Congressional leaders threatened to pass legislation that would bar gay people from serving if Clinton issued an executive order changing the policy.

After lengthy public debate and congressional hearings, the President and Senator Sam Nunn, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reached a compromise, which they labeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

Under its terms, military personnel would not be asked about their sexual orientation and would not be discharged simply for being gay. However, having sexual relations with or displaying romantic overtures to members of the same sex, or telling anyone about their sexual orientation was considered "homosexual conduct" under the policy and a basis for involuntary discharge. This is was known as the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law and became the DOD policy.

Changing Times for Society and the Military
 

At the time, most military leaders and young enlisted (who were forced to live in the barracks with a roommate) took a conservative view about allowing gay people and other members of the LGBTQ community to serve openly in the military.

But the attitudes of society gradually changed through the next two decades. By 2010, more junior enlisted members' attitudes had changed, and they would not be bothered by serving with those they know to be gay. Furthermore, more service members, like those in general society, felt that discrimination against LGBTQ groups was unfair.

 

 

2010 - Repeal of DADT
 

In December of 2010, the House and Senate voted to repeal and overturn DADT. President Obama then signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act into law December 22, 2010. The nation decided that by September 20, 2011, gay service members would no longer fear discharge from the military by admitting to their sexual preference—they could serve openly.

More than 13,000 service members were discharged for being gay while the DADT policy was in effect. The repeal prompted many to try and reenlist. Many gay and bisexual service members who had been serving came out of the closet on various media. Many organizations and groups supporting gay military members surfaced and even organized official public gatherings with the military.

2013 - Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages
 

Although the repeal of DADT in 2010 made it possible for gay people to serve openly without fear of discharge, the new law still did not extend many of the benefits that straight members received to gay service members. These included things such as dependent health care benefits and housing allowances.

Following the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, the DOD announced it would extend spousal and family benefits for same-sex marriages that would be the same as those given for traditional marriages.

 



2016-2021 - Transgender Regulations
 

In recent years, the battle over equal rights in the military has shifted toward transgender issues. Until 2016, there was an outright ban on any transgender service members across all branches of the military.

This changed on July 1, 2016, when the Obama administration announced that this ban would be lifted. The new policy would allow transgender individuals with no history of gender dysphoria, a condition in which someone experiences intense psychological discomfort with their biological sex, to serve while adhering to standards for their biological sex. Those with a history of gender dysphoria could transition and serve according to their preferred gender after 18 months in stable condition post-transition.

In 2018, the DOD reversed these changes under the Trump administration, effectively barring transgender members who were not willing and able to serve according to their biological sex. Members who were admitted during the period of the previous policy were allowed to remain and serve under those standards.

President Biden reversed these changes by executive order during his first days in office in January 2021.

 

[Source: Rod Powers, February 2021]

 

Update: Biden Lifts Trump's Trans Military Ban

Policies Concerning LGBTQ Members of the Military

Research: LGBTQ and Health Related Behaviors in US Military

LGBTQ Service Members: Out and Proud

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military Service

TED Talk: Gays in the Military

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

Biden Reverses Trump's Transgender Military Ban

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

Info: LGBTQ Police Officers and Firefighters

Jody Davis: Veteran, Nurse, Transgender

Marine Corps Celebrates Pride, Puts Down Homophobes

President Biden Overturns Ban on Transgender Military Personnel

 

LGBTQ in the Military: Current Policies

Since 2011, openly gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women have been permitted to serve in the military. Acceptance for LGBTQ in the military expanded with the lifting of the transgender ban in 2021.

Still, some LGBTQ service members may worry about living openly. They may fear being harassed or passed over for assignments or promotions. While acceptance of LGBTQ service members is a relatively new development in the military’s long history, the Department of Defense is committed to maintaining a strong force that reflects the nation’s diversity.

 

The history of LGBTQ in the military

It wasn’t until 1982 that the military enacted a policy explicitly banning gay men and lesbians from their ranks. Before that, however, same-sex relations were criminalized and cause for discharge. And in the early 1940s, it was classified as a mental illness, disqualifying gay men and lesbians from service.

In 1993, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy went into effect allowing closeted LGBTQ people to serve in the military. Under the policy, service members would not be asked about their sexual orientation, but would be discharged for disclosing it. Eighteen years later, Congress repealed the policy, allowing openly gay, lesbian and bisexual people to serve in the military.

Another barrier was lifted in 2013 when spousal and family benefits were extended to same-sex married partners in the military. After ending temporarily in 2016, the ban on transgender individuals was again rescinded in 2021, allowing those who don’t identify with their biological gender to enlist and serve in the armed forces.

Being LGBTQ in the military

The Department of Defense recognizes the value of a diverse force that represents society, and has taken steps to promote acceptance and inclusion in its ranks.

But, given the military’s 245-year history, its policy to accept LGBTQ service members into its ranks is still relatively new. Cultural changes take time; stigma against LGBTQ service members may linger. This can be a barrier to living openly as an LGBTQ person in the military.

If this is true of your service member, talk with them about their concerns. The fear of backlash to living openly is understandable, but keeping a key part of their identity secret can affect their physical and mental health. You can play an important role by being a sounding board for your service member. You can help your service member feel understood and supported just by listening.

 

If your LGBTQ service member feels unsafe


If your service member is harassed or threatened, they should document the incident in writing and through photographs, if appropriate. They should also retain any evidence, such as a threatening note, then bring a formal complaint to their chain of command or the military police.

If your service member feels they were passed up for a promotion or denied an assignment because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, they may file a complaint with their service branch’s military equal opportunity office.

If your service member feels isolated, they may find it helpful to build a support network of fellow LGBTQ service members. Their installation may have an LGBTQ support group. If not, your service member may find one in the community outside the installation.

Your service member may also benefit from talking with a professional who is familiar with the military culture. Free, confidential non-medical counseling is available through their installation’s Military and Family Life Counseling program and Military OneSource. Your service member can connect with a counselor by calling 800-342-9647.

If your service member is in crisis, the Military Crisis Line is staffed 24/7 with trained counselors. You or your service member can reach the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255.


Military One Source
LGBTQ in the Military: A Bri
ef History, Current Policies and Safety
How the Military Supports Diversity and Inclusion
Child and Youth Behavioral Military and Family Life Counselors

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Military Service

LGBTQ Healthcare in US Veterans Health Administration

Research: LGBTQ and Health Related Behaviors in US Military

 

 

Reactions to Repeal of DADT

 

DADT has been repealed!  What does it mean to you?  "It's about time!" has been the general reaction to the repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.  President Obama signed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law on December 22, 2010.  It took effect in September 2011.

 

“What does it mean to me?" said one respondent. "That finally the many, many gay people who serve our country don't have to hide who they are, as if being gay makes them somehow less noble, less brave, less strong. It is about time!”

 

Another person submitted this comment: “It means that I can feel good knowing the men and women who proudly serve the country I love can be free to be themselves without shame or forced secrecy. To know that the American freedom they fight for is something they too can enjoy in uniform makes me even prouder to be an American.”

 

Another comment: "Heterosexual, homosexual, black, white, brown, yellow, conservative, liberal, moderate - I don't care what you are. The minute any American chooses to defend our country and the freedoms we get to live every day - I thank you, I respect you, and I only ever wish the best for you. I am forever humbled by your nobility and sacrifice - and I appreciate all you do, always."

 

 

LGBTQ Military Organizations

 

--American Military Partner Association
--American Veterans for Equal Rights
--Blue Alliance
--Knights Out
--OutServe/SLDN
--USNA Out

--Service Members, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All (SPARTA)
--Transgender American Veterans Association

 

First Black Female Gay Soldier to Pass Ranger School

Military Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets
Transgender Video Documentary: At War and In Love

Same Sex Wedding at West Point

TED Talk: Gays in the Military

New Normal: Gay Interracial Military Weddings

First Active-Duty Gay Couple Married at West Point

Info: LGBTQ Police Officers and Firefighters

What It's Like to Be Gay in the Military

Army Guy's Coming Out Story

 

 

Maj Gen Patricia Rose

 

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) military families, announced that Maj. Gen. Patricia “Trish” A. Rose, the highest ranking openly LGBTQ service member in the US military, was honored at the inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala on September 17, 2016, in San Diego, CA. The event celebrated the five-year anniversary of the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and the end to the military’s ban on open service by transgender people.

“We were thrilled to welcome Major General Rose and her wife to our spectacular evening celebrating our incredible progress together as a community,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “As an out and proud lesbian, Major General Rose’s exemplary leadership has helped to break down barriers and tear down walls that stood in the way of progress. She is an inspiration to thousands of LGBTQ service members in every branch of our nation’s Armed Forces."

Maj. Gen. Rose serves in the Air Force Reserve and is the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters US Air Force, Washington, DC. She supports the Deputy Chief of Staff in leadership, management and integration of Air Force logistics readiness, aircraft and missile maintenance, civil engineering and security forces, as well as setting policy and preparing budget estimates that reflect enhancements to productivity, combat readiness and quality of life for Air Force members.

General Rose entered the Air Force through Officer Training School in 1984. Her more notable assignments include Mobilization Assistant to the Director for Logistics, Engineering, and Security Assistance, US Pacific Command and Mission Director for the U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center in Southwest Asia, where she directed joint logistics for operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

General Rose lives with her wife, Jules, outside of Seattle, Washington, where she also works for the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.

 

Maj Gen Patricia Rose: Highest Ranking LGBTQ Member of US Military

Biographical Notes: Patricia Rose

Lesbian Promoted to Rank of Major General

 

 

Gay Secretary of the Army

 

Eric Fanning made history on May 17, 2016 when confirmed by the US Senate as Secretary of the Army.  The confirmation of the country’s first out gay man, Eric Fanning, as US Army Secretary is one sign of the progress that has been made since “don’t ask, don’t tell.”    The Clinton-era policy became law in 1994 and lasted all the way until 2011, finally letting service members be out as gay or lesbian. Now the civilian leading the Army is gay himself.

 

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the confirmation “a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces.”

 

“Secretary Fanning’s historic confirmation demonstrates that in America, we value hard work, talent and dedication,” said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is co-chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. “The capacity in which any individual can faithfully serve our country should not be limited.”

 

 

Progress has sometimes seemed swift. Less than a year after DADT’s repeal, the US Army got its first-ever out brigadier general in former colonel Tammy Smith, who received her stars from her wife during a ceremony in 2012.

 

And Fanning’s confirmation itself was notable for completely lacking any discussion of his sexual orientation. He is now the first out man to oversee the US Army or any military branch. Still, not a single senator asked him about it during his confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee, led by former DADT proponent John McCain of Arizona.

 

Fanning has 25 years of national security experience, working as undersecretary and acting secretary of the US Air Force. No one seemed to question his qualifications.

 

[Source: Advocate Magazine]

 

Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Army Secretary

Advocate Magazine: Gay Man Now Runs the US Army

Huffington Post: Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Army Secretary

 

 

First Lesbian General Officer

 

In August 2012, less than a year after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," former Army Colonel Tammy Smith was promoted to brigadier general making her the first general officer to come out while serving.  Tammy Smith received her stars from her wife Tracey Hepner in a private ceremony at the Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

According to the Stars & Stripes military newspaper, Smith, 49, has been assigned as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve. Before "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed, she told the military newspaper last year that she was not planning on coming out to her colleagues, but would be relieved when she and Hepner would be able to go out together without worrying about being outed.

 

“Finally my partner and I will be able to go out and have drinks together without worrying,” she said then.

 

A year later, Smith, 49, said she is still more focused on the work ahead than the significance of her personal life. But her wife, Tracey Hepner, said the last year has been a dramatic transformation for both of them.  “The support we’ve received has been amazing,” she said. "I wasn’t surprised that people were so accepting, but in some cases it has been even celebratory. It’s like nothing has really changed for us, and yet everything has changed."

 

Smith’s wife is much more of an activist than she is. Hepner co-founded the Military Partners and Families Coalition, a key voice in the debate over benefits and military programs for same-sex partners. Friday’s private promotion ceremony for Smith wasn’t the first that Hepner has attended, but it was the first where the pair didn’t have to hide any details of their relationship. The pair have been together for more than a decade.

 

Advocate Mag: Tammy Smith Becomes First Lesbian Genl Officer
Stars & Stripes: Smith Becomes First Gay Genl Officer to Serve Openly

Lesbian Earns Major General Rank
Obama Appoints Gay Man as Undersecretary of Air Force


US Navy First Official Gay Homecoming Kiss

 

On December 21, 2011, when the USS Oak Hill pulled into its Virginia port after a three-month deployment, the sailor who stepped off and bestowed the customary first homecoming kiss on a waiting loved one made history. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta greeted her girlfriend, Citlalic Snell, on the pier with a kiss and embrace, making them the first same-sex couple to be chosen by the Navy for this very public moment. The crowd cheered.

 

 

 

The kiss seen 'round the world between two women sailors was more than a traditional kiss marking a Navy ship's return home.  It was a small but significant sign of progress in the US military.  The repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is less than a year old.  Gaeta and her girlfriend (who is also a sailor) could not have kissed so publicly at a homecoming a year ago. Gaeta won the “first kiss” spot in a raffle among the crew.

 

It's been three months since the dock landing ship left home for Central America, and all of the usual fanfare is waiting to greet its crew: crowds of cheering families, toddlers dressed in sailor suits, and the lucky, excited woman who's been chosen to take part in a time-honored Navy tradition - the first homecoming kiss. In this case, that woman is 22-year-old Citlalic Snell. She's a sailor herself, assigned to the destroyer Bainbridge, but today she's in civilian clothes - jeans, boots and a stylish leather jacket. Watching pierside as the Oak Hill pulls into port, she absentmindedly twists the small diamond ring on her left hand.

 

A uniformed liaison who is with her explains how it's going to work: Snell's sailor will be among the first off the ship, and when it's time, Snell will be escorted onto the pier for the kiss. "It's a big deal," Gaeta says. "It's been a long time coming."  They explain that they've been dating for a little over two years, about as long as they've been in the US Navy. They met right after boot camp. They were roommates at their first training school, where they both became fire controlmen.  Until September 2011, when the military's ban on openly gay service was lifted, they worked hard to keep their relationship secret. When Snell came home from her last deployment in August, kissing on the pier wasn't an option.  "This is the first time we can actually show who we are," she says.  Adds Gaeta, "It's nice to be able to be myself."

 

Life After DADT

Military Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets
Same Sex Wedding at West Point

 

USMC First Official Gay Homecoming Kiss

 

In February 2012, when he returned from Afghanistan and saw his partner waiting to welcome him home, "four years of pent-up emotion and secret love" just seemed to naturally lead to "what felt like an eternity kiss," said Marine Sgt. Brandon Morgan.  "I looked to my left" and saw Dalan Wells, his partner, Morgan said. "My legs started going numb ... and I didn't care who was around. ... I wanted to show him how much I cared for him."  They've known each other for four years.

 

 

And the post-kiss reaction sparked by the posting of their photo on the internet has made him "very hopeful," Morgan said, "because even though there's been a lot of negative responses, the positive responses have been overwhelming."   The "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had barred openly gay men and women from serving in the US military ended in September 2011. 

 

Lesbian Earns Major General Rank
Obama Appoints Gay Man as Undersecretary of Air Force

11 Major Milestones After the End of DADT

End of DADT Means Decision Time for Gay Troops

Why We Need Trans People in the US Military

 

 

Transgender Australian Military Officer

 

Captain Catherine McGregor is a transgender writer, activist, and cricket player who served as a member of the Australian Defense Force. In 2012, McGregor was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Military Division for "exceptional service to the Australian Army as the Director of the Land Warfare Studies Centre".

In 2013, Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison refused to accept her resignation when she went public as transgender. McGregor was the highest ranking transgender person in the Army, and the speechwriter and strategic adviser for David Morrison. McGregor transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force in 2014 to work on projects for the Chief of Air Force.

In 2015 McGregor, in considering having gender reassignment surgery said, "it’s about being congruent in your identity. I would like to feel whole," and that any sex change, "will be funded independently with no taxpayer assistance".
 

Cate McGregor Interview: Transgender Life

Panel Discussion with Cate McGregor: Coming Out Trans

Video Profile: Cate McGregor

 

 

Leonard Matlovich: Improper Dismissal

 

In March 1975, Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich revealed his sexual orientation to his commanding officer and was forcibly discharged from the US Air Force six months later. Matlovich was a Vietnam War veteran and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. In 1980, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the dismissal was improper. Matlovich was awarded his back pay and a retroactive promotion. Upon his death, the inscription on his gravestone read: ''When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.''

 

First Black Female Gay Soldier to Pass Ranger School

Military Academy Graduates First Openly Gay Cadets
Same Sex Wedding at West Point

New Normal: Gay Interracial Military Weddings

First Active-Duty Gay Couple Married at West Point

 

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