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04/19/2007


Gay Fighter Pilot 'DADT' Drama 'Burning Blue' Comes to the Big Screen: VIDEO

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Burning Blue, the 1995 off-Broadway play about Navy fighter pilots who fall in love under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and are exposed during a government investigation into a series of fatal accidents, has been adapted for the big screen.

The film, directed by DMW Greer, stars Trent Ford, Morgan Spector , Rob Mayes  William Lee Scott, Cotter Smith, Michael Cumpsty. It hits select theaters and VOD on June 6.

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Stephen Hill, Heckled Gay Army Captain From 2012 YouTube Debate, Opens Up

Hill

The LA Times offers an in-depth profile on former Army Captain Stephen Hill, who famously came out via a YouTube question he posed to the 2012 Republican presidential candidates regarding a potential re-instatement of Don’t Ask Don’t tell (which was repealed in September, 2011). You’ll recall Hill’s question garnered boos from the audience and a less than encouraging response from then Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. The LA Times provides a fascinating look at everything that led up to Hill’s decision to reveal who he was to the world and to put those vying to lead the country he had served for 23 years on the spot on an issue that hit home:

If [any of the Republican candidates win in 2012 and reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell], he could lose his career. His uniform. His pension. His identity as a soldier. His honorable discharge. Everything.

He learns that Google and YouTube are hosting a nationally televised debate in Orlando, Fla., for the nine Republican presidential candidates. They are accepting questions...

Uniform

He closes his door. Instead of his combat fatigues, he wears a T-shirt that says ARMY. It is less official, he reasons, and therefore less likely to get him in trouble if he is discovered. It also displays his gigantic biceps, which he has not spent 20 years developing so he can hide them.

His face, he hides.

I'm a gay soldier and there's been a lot of progress made in the military with the abolishment of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' My question is that under one of your presidencies would you try to change what's been made for progress for gay people in the military?

He sends it in and waits. Viewers are allowed to vote on potential questions, and he is informed that his question is a hit. But now YouTube has another, much scarier request:

Would you consider revealing your identity?

Hill doesn't need time to consider. There's no chance. He has too much to lose.

[His husband, Jeff] Snyder reminds him that they are now married, and that it would not be hard for his command to discover this, and that if the ban is reinstated, he will be kicked out anyway...

In the subject line of his next email to YouTube, he writes: I have reconsidered.

The rest, they say is history. You can read the rest of the profile HERE.


AFA's Sandy Rios: Gays and Women in the Military Will Undermine Effectiveness of Syrian Strike - AUDIO

Sandy RiosAmerican Family Association nut Sandy Rios today warned that any potential U.S. military intervention in Syria may fail as a result of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the opening of additional Navy positions to female service members.

Said Rios on her radio show:

"When I looked at those battleships going into the Mediterranean, supposedly getting ready for battle in Syria, I couldn't help think about all the stories I've read about how women now are in the ranks of the Navy, getting pregnant at exponential numbers; when I think about the folding in and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the homosexual takeover of so much of our military I'm not sure how effective those naval ships will be."

Listen, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Grant Launches New Studies About Transgender Military Service

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The end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a landmark in the quest for equality for all LGBT soldiers. Unfortunately, its impact tended to affect some more than others, as transgendered troops continue to be ineligible for open service in today's armed forces. 

The Palm Center intends to help end that reality. Thanks to a new $1.35 million-dollar grant, the institute is launching the Transgender Military Initiative, which plans to conduct 11 studies, attempting to find "whether and how the U.S. armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness," according to a press release. The Palm Center is previously known for "coordinating more than a decade of research into the military’s 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy," and intends to take a similar approach once again. The group plans to conduct research "in areas ranging from privacy and medical accommodations to the experiences of foreign militaries and sports programs" over the next three years.

The project's leader, Indra Lusero, explained the potential significance of this new research in a statement to BuzzFeed:

"This academic research will inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces. Militaries around the world are updating their policies, and we are already conducting research in Canada, Britain and Australia to learn whether their trans-inclusive regulations have impacted readiness." 

Trans militaryThe grant money comes courtesy of the Tawani Foundation, which is run by Col. James Pritzker, cousin of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Tawani's stated purpose is “to affect significant transformation of organizations and educational programs that enrich knowledge, preserve military heritage, improve health and wellness and conserve unique sites for enduring positive impact on individuals, communities and societies.” Nathaniel Frank, the author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America and a former Palm Center staffer himself, would no doubt agree that this new research could certainly accomplish that goal. He praised the news, saying: 

“The education dimension for getting people to understand the importance of openly gay service in the military, getting the country and the military and the Congress in the right position was a long game. The same kind of long game in regard to transgender service has not yet been played.”

The group claims that the Transgender Military Initiative is the first study of transgender military service to be conducted on such a large scale. No doubt that trans troops such as former SEAL Team 6 member Kristin Beck are hoping that this study elicits an impact on par with its scale. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this new "don't ask, don't tell", we won't know exactly how many trans troops there are until we allow them to serve openly. 


The New Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Transgender Troops In The Military

Kristin Beck

As the memory of Don't Ask, Don't Tell begins to fade from the public's mind, one group continues to feel the sting of being forced to serve in silence: transgender troops.

While numerous military officials and politicians claim to embrace the LGBT community, oftentimes these individuals are tacitly omitting the 'T' from discussion. In the military, coming out as transgender still disqualifies you for service, a subject that USA Today tackles in a new article on the issue:

"I was at the Pentagon when Secretary Hagel was saying we're here to celebrate LGBT service," says a transgender Army sergeant who joined the Army as a woman. The sergeant spoke on condition of anonymity to stay in the service.

"I'm kind of looking around for the rest of Ts," the soldier says, referring to transgender troops. Other troops could celebrate marriage equality, the sergeant says, but not the transsexuals.

Transgender pride extends to Defense Department civilian employees such as Amanda Simpson, a senior Army official. Simpson, named to her post by President Obama, is the highest-ranking openly transgender official. She declined to comment for this story.

That pride stops with troops transitioning to the opposite sex.

For now, the Pentagon has no plans to cross that line, says Navy Lt. Cdr. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman. They're medically disqualified, according to Pentagon regulations. Army regulations, for instance, prohibit transvestism.

Because of the current DADT policy, it is unknown how many transgender troops are serving in the military. About 700,000 Americans (0.3% of the total population) are transgender, according to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Regardless of the number, transgender advocates such as Mara Keisling with the National Center for Transgender Equality, say that the only thing that should matter to the military is the ability for troops to do their job effectively. 

Last month, former Navy SEAL Team 6 member Chris Beck revealed in a memoir Warrior Princess that he had become Kristin Beck, a woman. Beck says that the Pentagon should act soon to include transgender troops in its ranks or risk having the policy dictated by Congress or the courts. "It should not be emotional," Beck says. "It needs to be well thought out."

Previously, "Kristen Beck, Transgender Former Navy Seal, Gives Powerful Interview to Anderson Cooper: VIDEO" [tlrd]


U.S. Service Members in Kandahar, Afghanistan Observe First LGBT Pride Event in Deployed Environment: VIDEO

Kandahar

The Department of Defense released an historic video today:

Service members deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan observe the 1st Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender Pride Event in a deployed environment. Service members discuss what pride means, what they hope to accomplish, and why it is important to fight for equality.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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