(Blogmensgo, July 3rd, 2012) On the 26 June 2012, Some 400 military and civilian workers at the Pentagon (headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) attended a celebration outside the “months of Pride”. This was a simple round table, the U.S. Army had not taken part in motorcades of Gay Pride held in the country. It was also the first event of its kind to be held openly in the U.S. Army.
As with any similar official event, the meeting began with a flag-raising – the American flag, but not the rainbow flag.
Jeh Johnson, director of legal affairs at the Pentagon, said that the U.S. military has accepted the legalization of homosexuality in its ranks “better than we expected.” Johnson, however, lamented the absence of senior officers in uniform in attendance. This is a sign, he said, that much remains to be done for the army to become fully gay-friendly.
A gay officer, Matthew Phelps, a captain in the Marine Corps, has used the meeting to say how much gays and lesbians were ostracized in the days when homosexuality was still taboo in the army. The law “Don’t ask, don’t tell” twice turned the military homosexuals as pariahs: once by forbidding them to reveal their homosexuality; a second time in preventing them from participating much as the other cohesion. Thus Phelps, when he officiated in Iraq, was in fact silenced when his colleagues evoked their “second half” back home.
A few days ago, Republican Congressman Howard McKeon, chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in the House of Representatives, declared that the abolition of the law “Don’t ask, don’t tell” may be considered final and his party will not reverse on this.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), non-profit group that advocates for LGBT rights in the army, estimated that 66,000 gays and lesbians now serve in the forces.