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Content about Sexual orientation and the United States military

February 23, 2015

Ash Carter: 'I don’t think anything but their suitability for service should preclude them'

New US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has come out in favor of transgender people being able to serve openly in the military.

Appearing at a town-hall meeting in Afghanistan, said he aims to make 'service as attractive as possible to our best people in our country … provided they can do what we need them to do for us.'

Carter added that he doesn't think 'anything but their suitability for service should preclude them.'

February 19, 2015

Caution urged after draft report details potential policy change

The US Army is reportedly considering making it easier for transgender people to serve in the military.

A draft document obtained by USA Today proposes raising the authorisation level needed to initiate dismissal proceedings against trans service members.

The leaked report, which has not been adopted as official directive, does not rescind current Army policy, which considers transgender people "administratively unfit" for service.

January 13, 2015

Calpernia Addams, who’s life story was the basis of the movie A Soldier’s Girl, will take part in the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival as a special guest at the Gender Trailblazers event

The organizers of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras announced earlier today that American Transgender actress, artist, activist and LGBTI cultural icon, Calpernia Addams will be taking part in a special 2015 festival event focussing on transgender issues.

The 2014 Gender Trailblazers event saw Chaz Bono and Australian Defense Force Lt Colonel Cate McGregor AM share their inspiring stories to a packed theater.

Now in 2015 Addams will be a special guest at Gender Trailblazers at Sydney’s Seymour Center in Chippendale on Saturday 21 February at 7.30pm.

October 11, 2014

'Homo[sexuality] is a problem for us'

Twenty-one years ago, when Bill Clinton was in the White House, the Democratic president formed a military policy called 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'

The code permitted gay, lesbian, and bisexual troops to serve in the US military as long as they were not out. Yesterday, 10 October, the Clinton Library released documents chronicling the debate in creating the plan.

June 20, 2014

Lisa Weiszmiller was kicked out of the US Army in 1979 for being a lesbian but 35 years later it has recorded her discharge as honorable

Oklahoma lesbian Lisa Weiszmiller has had her Army certificate of discharge reissued to list her discharge as honorable instead of dishonorable after she was kicked out of the army in 1979.

The reissued certificate is dated to 22 June 1979 and was given to her just days before the 35 year anniversary of her being kicked out of the army over her sexual orientation.

May 20, 2014

Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson will be the first spouse of a member of the US armed forces to receive equal death benefits over her National Guard wife Donna’s death in Afghanistan in 2012

Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Tracy Dice Johnson will be the first ever military spouse to receive the same death benefits given to heterosexual widows and widowers when their spouses die in the line of duty.

Tracy married wife Donna Johnson in Washington in February of 2012 but she was killed by a suicide bomber just months later in Afghanistan in October that year.

April 28, 2014

A US navy communications specialist has spoken out to The Washington Post about being discharged for transitioning to being male – showing that part of the LGBTI community is still legally barred from serving in the US Armed Forces

Transgender sailor Landon Wilsonhas spoken out about being forcefully discharged by the US Navy after superiors discovered he had transitioned to be a male – showing that some LGBTI people still face legal discrimination in the US Armed Forces past the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

The US Defense Department still retains a policy that was set when being transgender was viewed as a form of mental illness and classes it as a ‘paraphilia.’

January 7, 2014

79-year-old military veteran Hal Faulkner has had his discharge record changed from ‘undesirable’ to ‘honorable’ 58 years after he was kicked out of the Marines for being gay

A 79-year-old man who is dying from cancer has finally had his military service record cleared 58 years after he was kicked out of the US Marine Corps when the military learned he was gay.

Faulkner was discharged as an ‘undesirable’ after three years of military service beginning in 1953 during which he served in the Philippines and rose to the rank of sergeant.

Faulkner was diagnosed a few years ago with cancer and asked his relatives to help him secure a dying wish – to have his service record cleared.

January 5, 2014

Fed up with closeted anti-LGBT politicians and the complicity of the media, a gay journalist has accused Illinois Republican congressman Aaron Schock of being gay and voting against equal rights

When is it acceptable to out gay politicians especially when they have been voting against bills that would bolster equal rights for gays, asks freelance reporter Itay Hod, who is himself gay.

October 31, 2013

Robert Gates led the dismantling of Don't Ask, Don't Tell while US Secretary of Defense

Former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been chosen as the next leader of the Boy Scouts of America.

Gates assumes the role in May 2014, five months after the scouts change in policy regarding gay members goes into effect.

The BSA voted earlier this year to change its century-old policy of banning openly gay members up until they reach the age of 18. But the ban remains for adults scout leaders, employees and volunteers.

Gates has experience in such situations.

October 19, 2013

President Barack Obama calls Jeh Johnson, the Homeland Security secretary nominee, 'an absolutely critical member of my national security team'

President Barack Obama has nominated Jeh Johnson, a lawyer who co-authored the US Pentagon's Don't Ask, Don't Tell study, to be the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

DADT forced gay and lesbian personnel to conceal their sexual orientation in order to avoid being discharged.

August 31, 2013

Darren Manzella, who served two two tours of duty in the Iraq War, continued to fight against DADT after his honorable discharge in 2008.

Darren Manzella, the Army sergeant who came out in 2007 to protest the US military policy Don't Ask, Don't Tell, died this week in car accident. He was 36-years-old.

According to the Democrat and Chronicle, Manzella was involved in a highway accident, with another car, on 29 August in Pittsford, New York.

He stopped his vehicle, got out, and began to push it from behind. A sports utility rear-ended his car, pinning Manzella between the two vehicles.

August 16, 2013

Eric Alva tells crowd: 'Shame on you because God loves me'

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and openly gay man Eric Alva was booed by anti-LGBT protesters at a San Antonio City Council meeting this week when he spoke out in favor of extending the city's nondiscrimination law.

It was 10 years ago in March that Alva became the first US Marine to be injured in the Iraq War when he stepped on a land mine and lost his right leg.

August 8, 2013

The soon to be former president of the Young Democrats in America calls his coming out 'some unfinished business'

Before leaving his post as president of the 81-year-old political group Young Democrats of America, Rod Snyder came out.

'...I’ve never taken the opportunity to tell my own story – that I am a Christian, an American, a West Virginian, a Young Democrat, a rural advocate, a singer-songwriter, a brother, a son, a grandson, a nephew, an uncle, and a gay man,' he wrote on the YDA website.

July 31, 2013

While the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell means US gay troops can serve openly, transgender military personnel can still be kicked out because of gender identity

The Palm Center is about to spend $1.35 million (€1.18 million) to study how transgender troops impact the readiness of the US military.

The Center is an independent research group that studies gender, sexuality and the military.

According to a press release, 16 scholars will conduct 11 studies, over three years, 'on whether and how the US armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness.'

July 26, 2013

The Restore Honor to Service Members Act will help complete what the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell started

Mark Pocan, an out US House representative from the Midwestern state Wisconsin, joined Charlie Rangel, a representative from New York, to introduce a bill that would assist gay veterans discharged from the military because of their sexuality.

July 19, 2013

Anti-gay conservative Bryan Fiischer warns voters to be wary of US Senate candidate Liz Cheney

Bryan Fischer, the spokesperson for the conservative organization American Family Association, has come out against Liz Cheney's bid to join the US Senate.

The conservative commentator is worried the candidate, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, lacks his anti-gay fervor.

Fischer acknowledged Cheney has all the right positions when it comes to foreign policy but 'she will fight for the team wearing lavender instead of the team wearing red, white and blue.'

July 13, 2013

Outserve-SLDN's Executive Director Allyson Robinson steps down as the board head says the organization faces severe financial problems

In an email, OutServe-SLDN's board of director chair reveals the organization is bankrupt

April Heinze, the board of director chair, sent an email to members of the group's military advisory cmmittee. The memo, obtained by AMERICAblog, describes the gay military group's bleak financial present and future.

'The situation is bluntly that the organization was out of money and could not afford to maintain staff and infrastructure,' Heinze wrote.

July 7, 2013

Two years after the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the Department of Defense held an official pride event in Kandahar for gay and lesbian American troops 

Gay and lesbian US troops stationed in Afghanistan got their chance to show their pride last week.

A video posted to the Department of Defense’s official Youtube channel shows video footage from other pride events, and interviews with US troops stationed in Kandahar Airfield.

One of the soldiers interviewed said: ‘I don’t want to be treated special, I just want to be treated equal,’ said one soldier who was interviewed.

‘People came to support people that they didn’t even know.’

July 5, 2013

Executive Director Allyson Robinson stays on at OutServe-SLDN while the organization starts the search for a new board

OutServe-SLDN, the embattled gay military support organization, announced it would start searching for a new board of directors.

According to a statement the board released on 3 July, there will be 'the formation of a transition committee, a group of four Board Members and four Chapter Leaders who will be working side-by-side to appoint new leadership to the Board of Directors and begin to see the organization in a new direction.'

June 26, 2013

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, who is gay, also speaks about personal experience

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel came full circle Tuesday (25 June) with his appearance at a Pride reception at the Pentagon.

During his remarks, Hagel said that 'gay and lesbian service members and LGBT civilians are integral to America’s armed forces.'

He pointed out that their ranks include senior leaders like Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning who was also in attendance and Brigadier General Tammy Smith who last year became the first openly gay general officer in the United States military.

June 25, 2013

OutServe-SLDN survives weekend of turmoil and decides to keep its executive director, Allyson Robinson

US gay military organization

OutServe-SLDN, a US gay military organization, announced  Allyson Robinson, its executive director, will remain in her position as the group faces staff cuts and budget constraints.

This past weekend The Bilerico Project and BuzzFeed reported Robinson was dismissed by the board. Multiple staff and board members quit in protest.

June 25, 2013

Openly gay Eric Fanning has been made acting Secretary of the US Air Force – making him the highest ranking LGBT person at the US Defense Department

Eric Fanning has become the highest ranking LGBT person in the US Defense Department after he became acting-Secretary of the US Air Force.

Fanning had previously been the Undersecretary of the Air Force but two months into the job Air Force Secretary Michael Donley retired and Fanning was asked to take over the role until President Barack Obama nominates an official replacement.

That nominee would then have to be confirmed by the US Senate.

June 23, 2013

Allyson Robinson, executive director of OutServe-SLDN, is pushed out by board, causing some staff and board members to resign in protest

There has been a shakeup at a gay military support organization in the US.

OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson was asked to resign on Saturday (22 June) by the organization's board. This move caused many staff members to resign.

The advocacy group works with LGBT military members, veterans and their families.