Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pentagon Ignores Pride Month For 1st Time Since "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal

The Trump/Pence regime continues to send messages to members of the LGBT community that they are less than full citizens and that our rights are subject to reversal and our humanity subject to diminution if not total negation.  The situation, of course, is the worse for transgender Americans on whom Trump and Pence have declared war to rally support from their knuckle dragging evangelical base.  For the first time since the repel of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Pentagon is pretending that Pride month is not occurring.  Some will say what is the big deal, but when you are part of a community that has been denigrated and abused for many decades, if not centuries, you become very sensitive to signals that your rights may be under attack.  Twenty Nine states - including Virginia - have no employment non-discrimination or housing protections. I was was fired by my former law firm in the past for being gay and ultimately forced into bankruptcy as a consequence. After such an experience, believe me, you do pay attention to any backsliding in recognition of your rights.  The thousands and thousands of LGBT members of the military are likely paying close attention.  In this context, Trump/Pence is nothing less than a dangerous enemy.  The Washington Post looks at this development at the Pentagon.  Here are highlights:
Senior leaders at the Pentagon are distancing themselves from the Defense Department’s annual LGBT Pride Month celebrations, declining to formally acknowledge the observances for the first time since the practice became routine after President Barack Obama repealed the military’s ban on homosexuals serving openly.  The absence this year of an official Pentagon memo marking LGBT Pride Month has raised questions among service members and Defense Department civilian employees who are troubled by President Trump’s surprise proclamation last July that he would ban transgender people from serving in the military. Typically, the memo is distributed as LGBT Pride Month begins each June, effectively endorsing the observance and encouraging personnel to hold local events.  “It opens the door for LGBT service members, civilians and their allies on military bases to hold events recognizing Pride Month without having to ask for special permission or an exception,” said a former senior Obama administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the official’s dealings with the Pentagon. “It makes it known that there’s an authorization, that there’s support.” 
Even without an official observance memo, the LGBT employee group at the Defense Department held an event Monday at the Pentagon. Contrary to past years, though, no high-level department leaders made public remarks — another first since such events began in 2012, the year after the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed.
Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon, declined to discuss why no observance memo has been issued this year, saying only: . . . We value all members of the DOD total force and recognize their immense contributions to the mission.”
The Defense Department Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity maintains a website publicizing the posters and memos designating 2018’s other official observances. As of Monday, it listed five: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Holocaust Days of Remembrance, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Trump’s transgender ban has yet to go into effect because of court challenges. In the meantime, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has recommended a new policy that disqualifies transgender people who require or have already undergone gender transition, and bans people with current or recent gender dysphoria except in rare circumstances.
Mattis’s policy recommendation marks a reversal of the Obama administration’s decision in 2016 to lift a ban on transgender men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces, though it grandfathers those currently serving.

To maintain the support of hate infused evangelicals, I suspect that there are few limits to the harm Trump and Pence would do to LGBT citizens. Like brown skinned immigrants at the border, we are viewed as less than human.  Only a fool would not be afraid. 

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