US Defense Department honors gay pride

US Defense Department celebrates June as Gay Pride Month

US Defense Department honors gay pride
16 June 2012

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta released a video celebrating gay pride and the contributions of LGBT troops.

‘The successful repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" proved to the nation that, just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values and different beliefs,’ Panetta said. ‘But together we form the greatest military force in the world.’

The official message was the first time the Department of Defense recognized Gay Pride Month. For 18 years, gay and lesbian troops served under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That policy, which started in 1993, barred discrimination of gay troops, but also kept military personnel from being out. According to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a non-profit that works with LGBT sailors, soldiers and airmen, approximately 14,500 troops have been discharged under DADT.

‘A year ago, our brave gay and lesbian service members were still serving in silence due to the discriminatory "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" law,’ said SLDN’s executive director Aubrey Sarvis in a press release. ‘Today, in this historic message, Secretary Panetta has affirmed their invaluable contributions to our nation’s military and in doing so, shined a bright light on how far we have progressed toward full LGBT equality in our military.’

As reported by the Army Times. the Pentagon has a history of celebrating diversity.

‘Hallway displays and activities, for example, have marked Black History Month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month,’ the newspaper noted.

Although the repeal of DADT repeal has brought changes few could have imagined, out students at military academies, the new environment has not impacted the armed forces’ bottom line. In a May press conference Panetta noted LGBT troops serving openly is ‘not impacting on morale. It’s not impacting on unit cohesion. It is not impacting on readiness. Very frankly, my view is that the military has kind of moved beyond it. It’s become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Cape Town mayor slams councillor’s anti-gay slur

Patricia de Lille, mayor of Cape Town criticized councillor Abdulhamied Gabier for his anti-gay rant saying it insulting and against the law
No thumbnail available

Married 8 times, gay couple premieres documentary in New York City

Narrated by George Takei, Married and Counting follows two grooms on their journey to marry in every state where same-sex marriage is legal
No thumbnail available

AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague to be made into a TV miniseries

ABC buys rights to Oscar nominated film about activists who fought against disease and government red tape and apathy
No thumbnail available

The L Project's charity single is out now

Check out the awesome video for The L Project's charity single It Does Get Better
No thumbnail available

Students hold mass kiss-in at UK supermarket after gay couple were told to stop being 'disgusting'

See some of the best pictures from last night's protest at Sainsbury's Brighton
No thumbnail available

Stoli Vodka donates US$300,000 to fund gay rights leadership program in the US

How far will donating US$300,000 to a gay rights group go to improve the brand’s image in the eyes of the LGBT community?
No thumbnail available

British PM David Cameron pressured by own party: ‘Drop gay marriage bill’

Prime Minister David Cameron is urged his own Tory MPs to drop the gay marriage bill to secure Conservative seats in next year’s elections
No thumbnail available

Comedian Louis CK talks about why he wishes he were gay

'Being a heterosexual is hard, it's a lot of work'
No thumbnail available

Mike’s desperate plea for Valentine’s Day

Mike from Liverpool wants nothing more than to be with his American boyfriend
How gay was the Battle of Waterloo?

How gay was the Battle of Waterloo?

Gays would have been a lot better off if the French won 200 years ago, says Kevin Childs