US Navy to Name Ship After
The Navy has sent congressional notification that it intends to name a
new oiler ship after slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The Navy is
declining to comment further until the official naming announcement.
Harvey Milk was a San Francisco politician and gay rights activist. He
was murdered in 1978.
The notification sent July 14 was signed
by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. News of the commissioning was first
reported by the US Naval Institute News.
Once commissioned, the USNS Harvey Milk would be part of the John
Lewis-class oilers, a class named after Georgia Congressman and civil
rights icon Rep. John Lewis, and Mabus has said this particular class of
vessels would be named after various leaders from the civil rights
Milk, the first openly gay politician from California to be elected to
office, served in the Navy as a dive instructor in San Diego during the
The oiler is a combat logistics ship that replenishes other ships at sea
with fuel and other provisions such as food.
LGBTQ Nation: Navy Ship to Be Named for Harvey Milk
Huffington Post: Navy is Naming Ship After Harvey Milk
CNN: US Navy to Name Ship After Harvey Milk
LGBTQ Nation: Navy Secretary Defends Decision to Name Ships After Civil
LGBT Military News Updates
Pentagon Overturns Military's Ban on Trans Troops
Transgender Military Ban Lifted
Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Army Secretary
Gay Military Reports
Message for LGBT Troops from
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter delivered
this LGBT Pride Month message on June 7, 2016:
This month is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, an
occasion that brings the LGBT community together with their family,
friends, and allies to take pride in themselves and their many
achievements. The Department of Defense recognizes Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender servicemembers and civilians for their
dedicated service to the Department and the nation.
Throughout our history, brave LGBT soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast
Guardsmen, and Marines have served and fought for our nation. Their
readiness and willingness to serve has made our military stronger and
our nation safer. We continue to take great pride in all that these men
and women contribute to the Department and our mission. Their hard work,
courage, and sacrifices make them respected members of our diverse DoD
Through their service these Americans help ensure that we as a force
embody the values we’re sworn to uphold. And that our republic, born
from the idea that all are created equal, endowed with unalienable
rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, will remain
strong and secure. These words are more than a pinnacle to strive for,
they are principles we must promote every day.
As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month together, let us take pride in all who
step forward to serve our country. All who answer the call to service
are doing the noblest thing they can do with their lives: to provide the
security for others so they can dream their dreams, raise their
children, and live full lives.
Gay Man Now Runs the Army
Eric Fanning made history on May 17, 2016
when confirmed by the Senate as secretary of the Army. The
confirmation of the country’s first out gay man, Eric Fanning, as Army
secretary is the latest sign we’ve come a long way since “don’t ask,
The Clinton-era policy became law in 1994 and lasted all the way until
2011, finally letting service members be out as gay or lesbian. Now the
civilian leading the Army is gay himself.
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called the confirmation “a
demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in
our nation’s armed forces.”
“Secretary-Designate Fanning’s historic confirmation demonstrates that
in America, we value hard work, talent and dedication,” said Rep.
Kyrsten Sinema, who is cochair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. “The
capacity in which any individual can faithfully serve our country should
not be limited.”
Progress has sometimes seemed swift. Less than a year after DADT’s
repeal, the Army got its first-ever out brigadier general in former
colonel Tammy Smith, who received her stars from her wife during a
ceremony in 2012.
And Fanning’s confirmation itself was notable for completely lacking any
discussion of his sexual orientation. He is now the first out man to
oversee the Army or any military branch. Still, not a single senator
asked him about it during his confirmation hearing before the Armed
Services Committee, led by former DADT proponent John McCain of Arizona.
Fanning has 25 years of national security experience, working as
undersecretary and acting secretary of the Air Force. No one seemed to
question his qualifications.
Fanning’s confirmation took a long while, as he had been nominated in
September, not because of his being out, but because of the usual
Washington politics. Sen. Pat Roberts held up the nomination over an
unrelated dispute with the Obama administration on Guantanamo detainees.
And Fanning had to step down as acting secretary before McCain would
agree to consider him, claiming his temporary appointment might’ve been
improper. The Pentagon called the unusual step of resigning “a show of
comity” with the Senate.
It appears to have paid off. Fanning will now officially take over from
the previous secretary, John McHugh.
No one asked Fanning about open service for transgender members of the
military either. The military is still conducting a review of that
possibility, though activists have expressed hope that a change is on
(From: Advocate Magazine)
Advocate Magazine: Gay Man Now Runs the US Army
Huffington Post: Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Army Secretary
Military Members in Capital Pride
Parade in DC
LGBT Military News
First Lesbian General Officer
USMC First Official Gay Homecoming
US Navy First Official Gay
Reactions to Repeal of DADT
It's About Time: Reactions to End of DADT
Gay Soldier Leaves Larger Legacy
Andrew Wilfahrt, 31, was killed in Afghanistan on February 27. According to a CNN report, he is first known gay soldier killed in war since the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
His parents, Jeff and Lori, have become crusaders for same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
All they ever wanted was for Andrew to be Andrew. At 29, he sat his mom and dad down at the kitchen table and told them his life was missing camaraderie, brotherhood. "I'm joining the Army," he said. The news surprised them. Why would Andrew enter the military, where he'd be forced to deny a part of who he is? It had never really crossed the minds of his left-leaning parents. Yet, just as they'd done with all three of their children, they supported him. It wasn't easy. It became dreadfully painful. Then, on February 27, 2011, the Wilfahrts learned their oldest child was gone.
Andrew was among the smartest in the half-million force, scoring a perfect score on his aptitude test, a feat the Army says is rare. Andrew was so well-liked his comrades named a Kandahar combat outpost for him. To his buddies, it is not named for a gay soldier, but for one who fought with valor. But with his death, his parents have taken up the cause of gay rights. Andrew fought for his nation in a foreign land. His parents' war is being waged in their home state of Minnesota. To them, it's about defending the Constitution -- protecting the rights of all citizens. In a state that has produced GOP presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty -- who have made careers fighting gay marriage -- these parents of an American hero present a major challenge to the establishment. They'll take their battle to the Supreme Court, if that's what it takes. To the Wilfahrts, denying gays the right to marry is discrimination against a group to which their son belonged.
CNN: Gay Soldier Leaves Larger Legacy
Repeal of DADT Policy
December 18, 2010
“Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell...perfect holiday gift!”
“By ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” no longer will patriotic Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”
“Thank you Senators for pushing us one step closer towards full equality,”
"This is a stepping stone to further advances for the gay and lesbian community."
-Joe Solmonese / HRC President
The US Senate has finally voted to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy by a 65-31 margin. This repeal of DADT reverses the US military's 17 year ban on gay men and women openly serving among their ranks. DADT was made a law seventeen years ago and is the only US law that punishes people for simply telling the truth. Since the law went into effect, over 14,000 gay and lesbian service members have been discharged from our nation's military simply because they were gay or lesbian. An estimated 66,000 gays and lesbians are currently on active-duty.
Twenty-three studies over the past fifty years, including most recently a comprehensive study by the Pentagon, have concluded the same thing: that there would be no to minimal impact on force cohesion or unit readiness by allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US military. Thirty-countries currently allow gays and lesbians to serve in their nation's armed forces. Senator Joe Lieberman said, "This historic day has been seventeen years in the making and would not have happened without the leadership of Joe Solmonese and the Human Rights Campaign."
HRC: US Senate Votes to Repeal DADT
Huffington Post: DADT Repeal Passes Senate 65-31
John McCain: This is a Very Sad Day
Boston Herald: ROTC Program to Return to Harvard
CNN: Celebs Chime in on Repeal of DADT
Slate: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Come Back?
Courage Campaign Report on DADT
As of December 2010, 69,360 Americans -- including 12,462 veterans and their families -- have signed Rep. Patrick Murphy's Courage Campaign petition to Senate leaders to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Courage Campaign also launched an advertising blitz on military web sites sending John McCain and Republicans a message that veterans and their families support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
On December 2-3, military leaders will testify in the U.S. Senate on repeal, following the long-awaited release of the Pentagon survey of active-duty servicemembers, in which 70% predicted it would have a positive, mixed, or no effect. Also, here is an important message from JD Smith (name anonymized), an active-duty servicemember who recently helped launch OutServe, an underground network of more than 1,200 active-duty gay and lesbian members of the military:
A few months ago, I was blackmailed under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Some people who knew that I was gay -- and serving in the military --- tried to use it against me to get what they wanted. After years of serving my country, I couldn't take it any longer. So I started talking with fellow gay and lesbian servicemembers and we decided to take action. Over the past few months, we've organized Outserve -- the largest network of active duty gay and lesbian servicemembers ever assembled. Using hidden social media, we are all connected, we can see each other, communicate with each other, and most importantly, support each other.
In the last few months, Outserve has created 27 chapters around the globe, with more than 1,200 members. We are as diverse as the military and our country as a whole. We are among those serving right now in Iraq and Afghanistan. And like all who wear the uniform proudly, we are united by an unflinching commitment to give our lives, if necessary, in service to our country.
Now, with the Senate set to consider repeal of DADT, we -- gay and straight veterans alike -- are speaking with one voice. We're in this fight together and, together, we're going to finally put an end to a failed policy that hurts our military, undermines the trust our troops need on the battlefield, and contradicts the values that generations of veterans have fought and died to defend.
For years, I have served openly as a gay servicemember in the ranks. Most of my straight brothers and sisters in arms have been nothing but supportive. In fact, they are the ones I owe for saving my career under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
When I came under investigation under "Don't Ask Don't Tell," it was my straight fellow servicemembers who came to my aid. It was my straight colleagues who saved me from being discharged.
While elimination of DADT is supported by President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, majorities in both houses of Congress, and 78% of the American people, Senator John McCain has threatened a filibuster. He says he wants to hear from our troops and their families. We are going to make sure he does.
(From Rick Jacobs/ Courage Campaign)
Testimony: Take a Stand
Suspension of Don't Ask Don't Tell Policy
According to the Associated Press, A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday, October 19, 2010 immediately stopping enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, suspending the 17-year-old ban on openly homosexual U.S. troops. The injunction goes into effect immediately, said Dan Woods, the attorney who represented the Log Cabin Republicans, the gay-rights group that filed the lawsuit in 2004 to stop the ban’s enforcement.
U.S. District Court
Judge Virginia A.
enforcement of the
Ask, Don't Tell"
policy as a result
her earlier opinion
in Log Cabin
that the policy is
separation, or other
injunction is about
as broad an order as
she could have
issued in the case.
The government has
60 days -- until
Monday, December 13,
because the 60th day
falls on a weekend
-- to appeal the
decision. In the
seek a stay of
from Phillips, the
U.S. Court of
Appeals for the
Ninth Circuit or,
ultimately, the U.S.
director of LCR,
praised the judgment
in a statement.
"No longer will our
valuable skills and
of an archaic policy
said. "The United
States is stronger
because of this
injunction, and Log
Cabin Republicans is
proud to have
brought the case
that made it
News Weekly: DADT
USA Today: Govt
Seeks Stay of DADT
CCN: Ruling for Gays
in the Military
Yahoo News: Judge
AOL News: Gay Vets
Seek to Re-Enlist
Dan Choi: Gay
"I passed." That's what gay
Iraq war veteran Dan Choi
announced today on his
Twitter page after taking
the skills test to re-enlist
in the Army.
Choi, who came out on
national TV and then
handcuffed himself to the
White House fence to protest
the "don't ask, don't tell"
law, is one of at least
three gay veterans who
sought to re-enlist now that
the controversial measure
has been suspended.
Last month, a federal judge
issued an injunction against
the law that bars anyone
from serving in uniform if
they're openly gay. On
Tuesday, recruiters for the
U.S. military were told to
begin accepting applications
from openly gay people.
The policy's final fate will
eventually be settled by the
courts or Congress, but for
now, the law is considered
to be suspended.
The Obama administration,
however, did ask a federal
appeals court to suspend the
Dan Choi, an Iraq
war veteran who was
discharged from the
military in July
because he announced
publicly that he is
gay, waits to enter
the U.S. Armed
Center in Times
Square on Tuesday,
hoping to re-enlist.
The legal turn of events
sent 29-year-old Dan Choi to
a military recruiting center
in New York's Times Square
on Tuesday. "I'm headed to
the Times Square Recruiting
he announced on his Twitter
supporters to join him at an
impromptu rally there.
"Today is a great day we can
all celebrate," Choi
told ABC News after
filling out recruitment
papers. He'd hoped to join
the Marines this time, but
age requirements prevented
him, so he re-enlisted in
the Army instead. "I'm very
excited to be in service to
Choi, a 2003 West Point
graduate, is fluent in
Arabic and served two tours
in Iraq as an infantry
platoon leader. After
returning from deployment,
he became one of the most
vocal critics of the "don't
ask, don't tell" law.
He revealed his sexual
orientation publicly for the
first time last year on
MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow
Show," prompting the Army to
begin proceedings to
discharge him. In March, he
was arrested along with an
Army captain for handcuffing
themselves to the White
House fence while in uniform
to protest the military's
"don't ask, don't tell"
Civil disobedience charges
against Choi and the other
soldier were later dropped,
but his discharge paperwork
went through in July,
putting the war veteran out
of a job.
About 100 supporters
gathered outside the Times
Square recruiting post while
Choi was there. Among them
was Justin Elzie, a
48-year-old fellow veteran
who was the first Marine
ever investigated under the
"don't ask, don't tell" law.
"This is a very important
moment in our country,"
told DNAinfo, a
Manhattan news website. "I'm
getting chills up and down
Choi, who lives in New York
KnightsOut.org, a group
of West Point graduates who
support the rights of gay,
lesbian, transgender or
bisexual soldiers to serve
openly in the U.S. military.
He was training with the
National Guard, preparing
for a possible deployment to
Afghanistan, when he was
discharged in July.
In a tweet today, Choi said
he refused to lie on his new
application. "I was
discharged in 7/2010 from
the US Army because I told
the truth about my sexual
orientation and refused to
lie about my cherished lover
and partner," he
wrote on the application,
which he photographed and
posted on Twitter.
Choi said he expected to
undergo a medical screening
on Monday. "I'm just really
excited," he told CNN today
while standing outside the
Times Square recruiting
station. "It's been a long
Almost giddy, he added:
"I've been going through all
this entire year wondering
if I'm going to get fired,
was I called back to duty?
And now here I am, and this
is a really exciting day,
not just for gay people but
for all of America."
Choi is one of at least
three gay veterans who have
started the re-enlistment
process since the Pentagon
told recruiters Tuesday to
consider the "don't ask,
don't tell" policy moot,
according to The Associated
Former Marine Will
Rodriguez, who was
discharged in 2008 for being
gay, registered at a
recruiting post in San
Diego, but officials there
told him he has to wait
until January until more
slots open up.
A gay soldier discharged in
2006, Randy Miller, was
turned away from a Stockton,
Calif., recruiting station
by sergeants who said they
hadn't heard about the
policy change. Miller went
to a Navy recruiter next
door and signed up there
instead, the AP reported.
Lauren Frayer / AOL News)
Should Gays Be Allowed to Serve in
The military's top
uniformed officer declared that gays should be
allowed to serve openly in uniform, arguing that it
is "the right thing to do." Adm. Mike Mullen's
statement was the strongest yet from the uniformed
military on this volatile issue, although he
stressed that he was "speaking for myself and myself
only." He told the Senate Armed Services Committee
Tuesday he is deeply troubled by a policy that
forces people to "lie about who they are in order to
defend their fellow citizens."
Mullen said he knows many will
disagree about abandoning the
"don't ask, don't tell" policy
and said there are practical
obstacles to lifting the 1993
ban. But he said he thinks the
military can handle it. Mullen
is chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff and chief military
adviser to President Barack
Defense Secretary Robert Gates
told the panel he is tapping his
chief legal adviser and a
four-star Army general to lead a
landmark study on how the
military would lift its ban on
openly gay service members.
Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson and
Gen. Carter Ham, who leads Army
forces in Europe, will conduct
the yearlong assessment.
Sen. John McCain, the ranking
committee Republican, publicly
bristled at the Pentagon's
decision to launch a yearlong
study into allowing gays to
serve, saying he is "deeply
disappointed" and calling the
assessment "clearly biased"
because it presumes the law
should be changed.
on the Armed
but that it
he wanted to
can get a
it will have
MSNBC Report: Admiral Mullen Says Gays Should Serve
CNN Commentary: Allow Gays to Serve Openly in the Military
Washington Times: Tough Fight Ahead for Obama
Voice of the Gay Military
Gay Military Signal is a
monthly on-line publication edited by Denny Meyer. It is billed as
"The Voice of the Military Rainbow Community." Gay Military Signal is
dedicated to providing a voice to the movement to achieve equality
in America's armed forces so that patriotic American volunteers may
serve our nation openly and in pride regardless of sexual
This internet newsletter offers articles, information, discussion,
and helpful resources and links relevant to the needs and concerns
of LGBT persons serving in the US army, navy, air force, and
Gay Military Support Groups
Below is a list of advocate and activist
groups and organizations that offer support, resources, and assistance
to gay, lesbian, and transgender people who served in the US armed
American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER)
Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Defence Gay & Lesbian Information Service (DEFGLIS)
Gay & Lesbian Service Members for Equality
Gay Military Signal
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Legacy of
Integrity in Service
The Michael D. Palm Center
Proud 2 Serve
Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)
Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA)
Gay Military Resources
Human Rights Campaign
Legacy of Service
Integrity in Service
Michael D. Palm Center
Proud 2 Serve
Wikipedia: Don't Ask
and US Military
Pros & Cons of
Gays in the Military
The Rights of
Gays in the Military
and Military Service
Association for Lesbian
Gay Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama