|Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, kisses her girlfriend of two years, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va.|
Who would have ever imagined this a year ago? The US Department of Defense (DOD), rather remarkably, is holding an event on June 26th at the Pentagon, to celebrate LGBT Pride month.
With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last year, which marked the end of the witch hunts in our nation's military, LGBT service members can serve openly for the first time.
DOD has long celebrated diversity in the ranks of our armed forces, recognizing Black History month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage month, and now LGBT Pride month.
The Associated Press reported:
Basic changes have come rapidly since repeal; the biggest is that gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines no longer have to hide their sexuality in order to serve. They can put photos on their office desk without fear of being outed, attend social events with their partners and openly join advocacy groups looking out for their interests.
OutServe, a once-clandestine professional association for gay service members, has nearly doubled in size to more than 5,500 members. It held its first national convention of gay service members in Las Vegas last fall, then a conference on family issues this year in Washington.
At West Point, the alumni gay advocacy group Knights Out was able to hold the first installment in March of what is intended to be an annual dinner in recognition of gay and lesbian graduates and Army cadets. Gay students at the U.S. Naval Academy were able to take same-sex dates to the academy's Ring Dance for third-year midshipmen.In another first, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta thanked LGBT service members for “their dedicated service to the nation.”
None of this would have been possible without President Obama’s commitment to equality, and the hard work of Admiral Mike Mullen, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
VIA The Associated Press
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