Military Hub




Trans-Rights Activists Expect Swift Change on Military Service

RobinsonThough significant inroads have been made with lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the U.S. military, there are still no technical protections on the books for service members who identify as transgender. Advocates like Allyson Robinson, however, are confident that the organizations like the Air Force are primed to set off a new trend in light of comments made by Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. Earlier this month Secretary James encouraged a review of the Air Force’s current policies that prohibit transgender members from serving:

“I would be shocked if Secretary Hagel doesn’t take just a moment in the weeks that he has left in office to make good on a promise that he made to the troops. He needs to order the review,” said Robinson. “We have their commitment to do that — we have the commitment of Secretary Hagel himself to review these policies. And, I should add, I am aware, from my conversations with leaders at the Pentagon, that the secretary views this, views those words, as a promise, as a commitment to the service members.”

Officially the White House has yet to release a position on whether or not trans-identified individuals are welcomed in the armed forces. When asked however, spokespeople for the White House pointed Buzzfeed to the Department of Defense.

“I can confirm that for you that no review of the department’s policy has been ordered,” asserted Pentagon spokesman Nate Christensen. He later guided the press to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s comments to The Washington Post this past May on Private Chelsea Manning in reference to his current thinking on the trans-service issue.

“I think that this period of Secretary Hagel — sort of, lame-duck period — represents that best opportunity that we’ve had so far to get [significant change] done,” Robinson explained, pointing to former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s action on same-sex benefits at the end of his military career.

“He did that, I think primarily, because he felt it was his responsibility to take care of his troops. He also did it out of a sense of collegiality to the person who was going to follow him. He took, what were seen by some as difficult or contentious issues, and took them off the table so that his successor would be able to start with a clean slate.”


Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

St Patricks Day parade Boston 2015

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will next year include representatives of gay veterans group OutVets, reports ABC News.

The parade’s organizers the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which in 1995 won a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to ban gay groups from the parade, yesterday voted 5-4 to allow OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15th. The group has also been given permission to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military, and six vertical rainbow stripes.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcce3e89970b-800wiBryan Bishop, OutVets founder and U.S. Air Force veteran, said:

"I think it's very significant. Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important."

Council commander Brian Mahoney added that OutVets is being allowed to march because of their military service, not sexual orientation:

"This conforms to the tenets of the parade. The parade is devoted to honoring the service of veterans. It's is our aim to honor that service and the history of the Irish Catholics in Boston. Anything that detracts from that is verboten."

This year, LGBT group MassEquality was invited to take part in the parade but the invitation was later rescinded. Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to take part last March because of the exclusion of LGBT people. Sam Adams beer also pulled out as sponsor of the parade.

In a similar move, Guinness dropped sponsorship of New York’s controversial St Patrick’s Day parade this year.

Watch Mahoney discuss his reasons for pulling out of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »


Check Out The Beautiful Story of Max Lenox, the Army Basketball Captain Raised By Two Gay Dads: VIDEO

Lenox1

This week's Sports Illustrated has the moving and remarkable story of the captain of Army's basketball team and the two gay dads who raised him. Maxwell Lenox, 22, is a senior at West Point and though he's not the star player for the Black Knights, he's been voted captain two years running due to his exceptional leadership abilities and the way he inspires his teammates. “I’ll be lucky if I do half the stuff Max does, become half the leader he is,” says sophomore forward Tanner Omlid. “I want to be like him.”

Sports Illustrated, which made big news last year with Jason Collins' coming out cover, has posted this amazing story on their website, written by S.L. Price with candor, emotion, and a remarkable sense of how much the world has changed since Lenox's adoption. Lenox was born to a crack-addicted mother in Philadelphia in 1992, at the height of the urban drug epidemic. Just three days later, he was adopted by a couple from North Carolina who were eager to start a family: Dave Lenox and Nathan Merrell. Though they had reservations about the unknown challenges of raising a "crack-baby," the bigger problems turned out to be with Merrell's conservative family who was not too thrilled to find out all at once that he was gay, had a partner, and that they were grandparents to a black infant.

Lenox_merrellsIn the touching video which accompanies the story, Merrell struggles to relate how his father denied that Max was his grandchild while his mother, for the first time in her 36-year marriage, actually defied her husband. The whole story is filled with emotional moments like this as the couple faced many struggles raising Max, including Max's difficulties in school and a serious injury that derailed a potential pro career. Now, given how Max has become such a leader, the two dads are thrilled how things have turned out as there's talk their son might make general someday. A truly inspiring story.

Check out a video on Lenox and his dads, AFTER THE JUMP....

And for the full story on Max's incredible journey, head over to Sports Illustrated here

Continue reading "Check Out The Beautiful Story of Max Lenox, the Army Basketball Captain Raised By Two Gay Dads: VIDEO" »


Stephen Colbert Agrees with Louie Gohmert's Warnings About Gay Massage in the Military: VIDEO

Gohmert_colbert

Last week, wingnut Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) issued a warning about gays in the military:

"I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.' Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long."

Stephen Colbert agrees:

"Gohmert knows his history, or he may have just been watching the gay version of the film 300, by which I mean the one released in theaters."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Stephen Colbert Agrees with Louie Gohmert's Warnings About Gay Massage in the Military: VIDEO" »


Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Explains Why Same-Sex 'Massages' Make Gays Unfit for Military Service - VIDEO

Gohmert

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, who has found ways to oppose gun control because...same-sex marriage (?), was quite vocal recently about Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Of course he opposed the repeal of the discriminatory policy, but who knew his reasoning could be this far-fetched.

When the ancient Greeks and man-on-man massages play into your law-making, you can't exactly claim you "know your history," as Gohmert does. 

Right Wing Watch reports on his statement:

"I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks,'" he said. "Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into a big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long. It's guerrilla fighting. You are going to be ultimately vulnerable to terrorism and if that's what you start doing in the military like the Greeks did ... as people have said, 'Louie, you have got to understand, you don't even know your history.' Oh yes I do. I know exactly. It's not a good idea." 

Right, because gay servicemembers, given the chance to enter combat, will resort to the ancient Greek philosophy: massages before fighting, what could go wrong?

Someone please keep history from repeating itself and do not reelect Gohmert.

Watch the historical crash-and-burn, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Explains Why Same-Sex 'Massages' Make Gays Unfit for Military Service - VIDEO" »


Lesbian Veteran from Idaho Can Now Be Buried Next to Her Wife: VIDEO

Madelynn_taylor

Madelynn Taylor, a 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Boise who has been battling for the right to be buried beside her late wife Jean Mixner in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery, has won her fight, NCLR reports:

Idaho officials agreed to Taylor’s request following the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ (NCLR) recent victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found that Idaho’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution. The court ordered marriages to begin on October 15, 2014, and directed the state to recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states.

Taylor served in the Navy from 1958 to 1964. In late 2013, Idaho officials denied Taylor’s request to be buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery together with her late wife, citing Idaho’s laws prohibiting marriage by same-sex couples. NCLR and Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham of Ferguson Durham PLLC filed a lawsuit on Taylor’s behalf, challenging the exclusion as a violation of the due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.

“Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I am for all the work that went into making our wishes possible,” said Taylor. “Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean.”

Said Ferguson: “Lee deserves credit for shining a powerful light on the injustice and indignity caused by Idaho’s former exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Her persistence, visibility, and refusal to accept inequality are a model for us all.”

Taylor's story, as you may recall, inspired a fellow veteran named Barry Johnson to offer his burial plot to her when he heard of the disgusting discrimination and injustice she faced.

Watch a video on Taylor's battle, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Lesbian Veteran from Idaho Can Now Be Buried Next to Her Wife: VIDEO" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged