Pentagon to recognize gay pride month for the first time

posted at 9:42 pm on June 14, 2012 by Allahpundit

Whatever you think of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” gestures like this that demonstrate the military’s acceptance of the new law are helpful, no? Now that the legislative battle’s over, top priority is making sure that the policy is implemented with as little disruption to the force as possible. A bit of official recognition for gay pride month normalizes the reality of openly gay troops and signals that the brass doesn’t want them treated with hostility. Soldiers carry out orders with which they disagree to the best of their ability all the time; this is a form of that, or at least that’s how I’m reading it.

Then again, it’s unfair to assume that there’s any deep objection to repealing DADT within the ranks:

In the latest remarkable sign of change since the military repealed the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the Defense Department will soon hold its first event to recognize gay and lesbian troops. It comes nine months after repeal of the policy that had banned gay troops from serving openly and forced more than 13,500 service members out of the armed forces…

Although some feared repeal of the ban on serving openly would cause problems in the ranks, officials and gay advocacy groups say no big issues have materialized — aside from what advocacy groups criticize as slow implementation of some changes, such as benefit entitlements to troops in same-sex marriages…

Panetta said last month that military leaders had concluded that repeal had not affected morale or readiness. A report to Panetta with assessments from the individual military service branches said that as of May 1 they had seen no ill effects…

[Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, a finance officer and co-director of OutServe] said acceptance has been broad among straight service members and has put a spotlight on unequal treatment that gays continue to receive in some areas. “We are seeing such tremendous progress in how much the military is accepting us, but not only that — in how much the rank and file is now understanding the inequality that’s existing right now,” he said.

OutServe, a group for gay troops, says its membership has doubled but I don’t know that any broader conclusions can necessarily be drawn from that. It may be that the dynamics are different from unit to unit, with some troops feeling comfortable in coming out due to the attitudes around them and others staying closeted because they’re not so comfortable. I’m interested in hearing from military readers on that. Two questions. First, have you noticed any disruptions from the new policy in your unit? And second, if not, why do you suppose that is? Is it as simple as most troops not caring if someone’s gay or is there more to it? For instance, my hunch is that this might have been a bigger deal for a peacetime military that had more time to focus on its composition. After nearly 11 years in Afghanistan, though, and with new battlefields opening up all the time (soon maybe even in Iran?), there’s simply too much to do to spend much energy on this. But I don’t know; this is why I’m asking.

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