Story compilation by Ian Phillips, Defense Media Activity
The Department of Defense marked Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in June with events around the world.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel led off an event in the Pentagon auditorium with President Obama’s advisor Valerie Jarrett and Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning. In his speech he commented on the important contribution gay and lesbian service members make to our nation:
“This month brings the LGBT community together to take pride in themselves and their many achievements. Gay and lesbian service members and LGBT civilians are integral to America’s armed forces,” said Hagel.
The full Pentagon ceremony can be viewed here:
Fanning, the highest-ranking openly gay member of the Defense Department, also described his experiences witnessing the evolution of the law that banned openly gay service members.
“We call these pride events as a way of demonstrating that we are proud of the progress we’ve made as a community, but I know for all of us here in the Pentagon and across the department, there is a different meaning, a larger meaning. We are proud that we are able to serve as part of the military, in or out of uniform, proud that we are able to contribute to this great mission of protecting our nation,” said Fanning.
Besides events in Washington, D.C., the California National Guard will have recruiting booths at the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade June 29-30.
Service members deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan observed the first lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender pride event in a deployed environment. In this video service members discuss what pride means, what they hope to accomplish, and why it is important to fight for equality.
In addition to the LGBT Pride events, the Supreme Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act this week. In a statement from Secretary Hagel he said, “The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses — regardless of sexual orientation — as soon as possible. That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do.”
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