During the month of June, let us celebrate the diversity of the DoD workforce and rededicate ourselves to equity, dignity, and respect for all.
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The Defense Department recognizes all military and civilian men and women who serve and are part of the LBGT community as equal, contributing members of the total force, Anthony M. Kurta, performing the duties of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said. Story
The Defense Department is observing June as LGBT Pride Month to recognize DoD's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and civilians. Story
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Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. DoD components, including the services, are not authorized to request, collect, or maintain information about the sexual orientation of service members, except when it is an essential part of an otherwise appropriate investigation or other official action.
"In 1978, Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag is a symbol of LGBT pride and social movements. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. The most common variant consists of six stripes, with the colors red (life), orange (healing), yellow (sunlight), green (nature), blue (serenity), and violet (spirit). The flag is commonly flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow."
Harvey Milk joined the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He served aboard the submarine rescue ship USS Kittiwake as a diving officer. He later transferred to Naval Station, San Diego to serve as a diving instructor. In 1955, he was discharged from the Navy at the rank of lieutenant junior grade. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Milk became a civil rights pioneer and activist and in 1977, became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.1 On August 16, 2016, the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus announced that a ship would be built and named after Milk (USNS Harvey Milk).2
On April 28, 2014, the Pentagon released an update to the DoD Human Goals charter, which for the first time included language that relates to sexual orientation in the section dealing with the military.
Anthony Loverde had been an Air Force staff sergeant for seven years when he was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy after telling his commander that he was gay in 2008. He then worked as a military contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he took part in the legal battle challenging the constitutionality of DADT. In May 2012, he reentered the Air Force as a staff sergeant, becoming the second person and first gay Airman to return to active duty since DADT was repealed.
Frank Kameny, who served in World War II, and was a civil service astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service, was fired from the U.S. Army Map Service and banned from federal employment in 1957 because he was gay. He became the central figure in confronting the government's policies against the employment of gays and lesbians, particularly in positions linked to national security. His collection of thousands of pages of letters, government correspondence, testimony, photographs, and other memorabilia is perhaps the most complete record of the gay-rights movement in America.
The Stonewall Inn in New York was infiltrated by police officers on June 28, 1969, for suspicion of serving alcohol without a license. New York's gay community had suspected the police were targeting gay clubs for a while, and broke out into a violent riot when the police began arresting employees as well as patrons. The number of protestors grew to over 1,000, and the riot lasted for hours. The Stonewall riots are largely regarded as the beginning of the LGBT rights movement.
Major General Tammy Smith, then an Army Reserve officer, was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on August 10, 2012. Through her promotion, she became the first gay general in the U.S. military to serve openly.
In December 1993, the Department of Defense issued the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" directive, prohibiting the U.S. military from barring applicants from service based on their sexual orientation. The directive stated that applicants would "not be asked or required to reveal whether they are homosexual," but it still forbade applicants from engaging in homosexual acts or making a statement that they were homosexual.
On December 22, 2010, the President signed legislation that led to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the DADT Repeal Act became law. Certification occurred in July 2011, and full implementation of the Act occurred in September 2011.
In 1978, the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) defined 11 prohibited personnel practices, one of which was a prohibition on discrimination against federal employees for conduct not directly related to job duties (The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978).
On May 28, 1998, the President signed Executive Order 13087, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in the Federal sector.
When the U.S. Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army in 2016, he became the first openly gay person to lead a military service.
In 1966, gay rights activists held a "sip-in" at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village. The New York Liquor Authority prohibited serving gay patrons, claiming that homosexuals were disorderly. The activists announced their homosexuality and were refused service. They sued the New York Liquor Authority. No laws were overturned, but the New York City Commission on Human Rights declared that homosexuals have the right to be served alcohol.
In 1984, Berkeley, California became the first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership benefits to lesbian and gay employees.
In 1975, Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich was discharged from the service after he appeared in uniform on the cover of Time magazine along with the headline "I am a Homosexual." Matlovich, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, had his discharge upgraded from "general" to "honorable" after winning a case against the Air Force in 1979.
Bayard Rustin was an openly gay civil rights activist, social reformer, pacifist, AIDS activist, and author. He was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. The papers of Bayard Rustin were presented to the Library of Congress between 1988 and 1994 as a bequest from Rustin via Walter Naegle, executor of Rustin's estate and his partner from 1977 until Rustin's death in 1987.
In 1993, the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation drew an estimated 300,000 to 1.1 million activists to the U.S. capital. Among the groups supporting and participating in the march was the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The support of such influential civil rights organizations strengthened the movement for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual rights legislation.
In March of 1982, Wisconsin became the first U.S. state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. This was the first statewide gay civil rights legislation in America.
In 1960, the Daughters of Bilitis held a national convention in San Franciso. This event became the first U.S. public gathering of lesbians.
On November 11, 1950, the Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization in the U.S., was founded by Harry Hay in Los Angeles, California. The society sought to change the way homosexuality was viewed by the American public, to integrate homosexual people into mainstream society, and to "eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice and bigotry."
Approximately 14,500 service members were discharged between 1993 and 2011 under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
"In 1965, a series of public demonstrations were held in Washington, D.C., by the East Coast Homophile Organizations, to protest U.S. government discrimination against lesbians and gay men. Gay and lesbian people picketed outside federal offices in what is believed to be the first public protests by gay people in the nation’s capital."
In 1966, the term “Lesbian” was heard for the first time in a Hollywood movie, The Group.
The Society for Individual Rights opened the first public U.S. gay community center in San Francisco in 1966.
The oldest collegiate student organization for gays, the Student Homophile League, was founded in 1966 at Columbia University.
In 1968, civil rights and lesbian activist Audre Lorde began teaching at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, where violent backlash to the Civil Rights Movement remained a serious threat.
In 1972, East Lansing, Michigan, instituted the first city policy in the U.S. that prevented discrimination against LGBT people in job hiring.
In January of 1974, Kathy Kozachenko became the first openly gay American elected to public office when she won a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan, City Council.
"In 1987, more than 70 lesbian and gay Latina/o activists representing 13 states and 33 cities participated in the second national March on Washington. They met and decided to create a national network, National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Activists (NLLGA)."
Officials Participate in Pride Event at the Pentagon