Since the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the military has been making strides when it comes to their integration efforts. Yesterday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke at an event that honored gay and lesbian service members, making him the first sitting defense secretary to attend a Pentagon Pride celebration.
“Secretary Hagel believes that the open service of gays and lesbians make our armed forces stronger and that this month’s DOD Pride event is just one way we honor what these service members and LGBT civilians do for our country,” Pentagon spokesman George Little told the Washington Blade, which first reported the news.
In an effort to boost it’s gay and lesbian recruits, the U.S. military is sending recruiters to San Francisco’s gay pride celebration. Recruiters from the California National Guard, joined by openly gay soldiers, will have booths set up discussing military life.
“At the end of the day, we’re a community-based organization, too,” Capt. Shannon Terry, public affairs officer for the California National Guard, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “So we need to look like our community.”
Even though there have been progress since the repeal of DADT, it still doesn’t offer protection to transgender members of the military. Also, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, same sex-military couples are still not afforded health-care coverage by the military.
Baby steps, I suppose.