The Department of Defense (DoD) has supported observances of LGBT Pride Month through the development of local programs of recognition and many diverse activities but it has been only recently that the DoD has recognized Pride Month with a special observance at the Pentagon (2012 – 2013.)
The Department of Defense issued similar flyers in 2012 and 2013 and all three include the word “transgender” despite the continuing ban on transgender service.
While the observance of LGBT Pride Month by the Department of Defense is yet another example of the tremendous amount of progress the observance is bittersweet at best because of the continuing ban on transgender service members.
After the long drawn out battle of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” out attorney and former Marine Capt. Tom Carpenter repeatedly tried to draw attention to the fact that the repeal did not include trans servicemembers. In one post for LGBT POV in 2012 on why LGB people should care about trans bias in the military, he wrote:
There was disappointment that some in the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) community would so casually turn their backs on people who are on the same side as us on every major issue: the end of DADT, marriage equality, the end of DOMA, passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA), and every form of legal protection for LGB people. The implication that trans people are ballast that should be chucked overboard at the earliest opportunity disturbed me greatly.
Now after 4 years U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has hinted at an upcoming reviews of the military’s current policy, which bans trans citizens from serving.
“The issue of transgender [service members] is a bit more complicated, because it has a — a medical component to it,” Hagel told ABC’s Martha Raddatz Sunday. “These issues require medical attention. Austere locations where we put our men and women in — in many cases, don’t always provide that kind of opportunity. I do think it continually should be reviewed. I’m open to that, by the way. I’m open to those assessments, because, again, I go back to the bottom line. Every qualified American who wants to serve our country should have an opportunity if they fit the qualifications and can do it.”
Until we can all serve together, be treated equally and be recognized as full citizens of the United States there is no PRIDE at the Department of Defense.