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Obama Names Lesbian To West Point Advisory Board

Brenda_Fulton

President Obama yesterday named Brenda S. Fulton, a retired Army Captain who is also a lesbian, to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point, making her the first openly LGBT person to serve there.

Fulton's military career began in 1980, when she was one of the first women to graduate from West Point, and led her to a five-year stint in Germany. She eventually became a captain and left with an honorable discharge.

After leaving the service, Fulton realized she's a lesbian and began campaigning against homophobia in the military, eventually co-founding Knights Out, a group for LGBT West Point graduates, as well as OutServe, an organization that represents service members who cannot reveal their sexual identity.

Remarking on her new appointment, Fulton said she hopes "it [will] symbolize to all people gay and straight that anti-gay bias in the military is a thing of the past."

"I would hope it would tell them that if you’re willing to serve your country and you’re qualified, other factors don’t matter,” she said. “I see my role as in some sense helping West Point send that message -- that we respect all people equally. That’s part of our values, that’s part of our code.”

Photo credit: JoAnn Santangelo's "Proud to Serve"

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Comments

  1. There goes that Obama person again, doing nothing for the gays.

    Posted by: JNJ | Jul 6, 2011 7:59:01 AM


  2. Is she Barney Frank's sister? She could be.

    Posted by: ANON IN SO CAL | Jul 6, 2011 10:10:20 AM


  3. First, lest anyone misunderstand, Ms. Fulton will not be "serving" in the sense of being IN the military again. She is a CIVILIAN appointee, just as out Cong. Jared Polis is on the similar Air Force Academy Visitors Board.

    @ JNJ: "A man who tosses worms in the river isn’t necessarily a friend of the fish. All the fish who take him for a friend, who think the worm’s got no hook in it, usually end up in the frying pan. We have received only tokens, substitutes, trickery and deceit." - Malcolm X.

    Ms. Fulton's success as a young cadet years ago at West Point are to be applauded, as is her uniformed service to her country. But after years of trying to help end the ban, her service to her own people over the last few months has gone off the rails as, among other things, she's refused to condemn the fact that DADT is still the law more than six months after the repeal bill was signed. In short, this appointment might say less about Obama's sincerity than about what Fulton has said about it. In other words: is this "shiny thing" just a reward for providing cover to the Administration as we've seen them do before?

    EXAMPLE in today's WSJ: "I believe they are proceeding in good faith to implement repeal, and I foresee very few if any problems with repeal in West Point. I would hope [my appointment] would symbolize to all people gay and straight that anti-gay bias in the military is a thing of the past” First, that's, at best, a kind of whistling in the graveyard. But the evil spirits in this case are very real for "anti-gay bias in the military" is NOT "a thing of the past" but of the future.

    #1: Ms. Fulton must know that Obama is backing the new OFFICIAL POLICY of the Pentagon that, even post actual repeal, no out gay or lesbian experiencing discrimination or harassment at West Point—or anywhere else in the military—will have the same tools to fight it that other minorities and "classes" have. Under the Military Equal Opportunity Program, not only blacks, women, Hispanics, et al., have a specific process for filing a complaint and getting justice, but even someone who claims to be a "witch" can claim discrimination as a member of the Wiccan "faith." But clear abuses of gay & lesbian service members only have the "chain of command" avenue which has already proven worthless even tho "Don't Harass" has been the policy for years, and is an explicit part of everyone's Basic Training. Said SLDN in 2004:

    "There is no available avenue for service members who would typically report discrimination [based on sexual orientation] through an equal opportunity office. In reality when a service member does report it through the chain of command it is rarely taken seriously. There's no consequence for commanders who ignore anti-gay harassment. The environment has created second-class citizenship for gay and lesbian service members and it permeates all military."

    Ms. Fulton also knows [or should] that, by OFFICIAL POLICY, partners of military gays & lesbians will be denied access to equal benefits that EVEN THE PENTAGON ADMITS ARE NOT BANNED BY DOMA, that they ADMIT they have the legal discretion to permit, such as access to military housing. Again, how is that not "anti-gay bias"?

    But her reward for whitewashing the truth about ongoing official second-class citizenship of gays is nothing compared to the reward that out gay Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach got for how mild and rare his criticism of the President [vs. of DADT] has been. While DADT remains law and troops suspected of being gay are STILL being terrorized by investigations AND are STILL being discharged even if THEY WANT TO STAY IN [per SLDN, June 27th], and while high profile Administration critic Dan Choi was kicked out last year and is still being hounded by the government to repay his so-called “unearned” bonus, Fehrenbach, whose discharge was recommended TWO YEARS AGO, has been told that not only will he be left alone but that he can leave voluntarily at the end of September with a retirement package worth over $1 million in his lifetime.

    YES, we’re happy for him when he never should have faced discharge in the first place. And we’re happy for Fulton. But there’s much more behind her good news than some would like to believe.

    Posted by: Michael@LeonardMatlovich.com | Jul 6, 2011 10:54:10 AM


  4. I ♥ JNJ.

    And once again Mr. Matlovich....oh wait..Just move along now. His work is done and you have nothing left. Face it.

    Posted by: David R. | Jul 7, 2011 2:49:02 AM


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