Armed forces plan cel­e­bra­tions, events for LGBT Pride Month

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION - BY ROWAN SCAR­BOR­OUGH

Pres­i­dent Trump has not yet is­sued a procla­ma­tion for LGBT Pride Month, but the U.S. Armed Forces are plan­ning cel­e­bra­tions world­wide and will con­tinue the tra­di­tion of hold­ing a spe­cial event at the Pen­tagon court­yard on June 12.

Speak­ers typ­i­cally in­clude gay, les­bian and trans­gen­der per­son­nel who tell per­sonal sto­ries and re­flect on Pres­i­dent Obama’s de­ci­sion to open the ranks to them over the last six years.

Some in the Pen­tagon won­dered if a con­ser­va­tive Repub­li­can ad­min­is­tra­tion and De­fense Sec­re­tary James Mat­tis, a former Ma­rine four-star gen­eral, would con­tinue the Pen­tagon’s prac­tice of en­cour­ag­ing events at bases and in­stal­la­tions. The Ma­rine Corps was alone in op­pos­ing Mr. Obama’s de­ci­sion to lift the ban.

But the De­fense Depart­ment con­firmed in a June 2 state­ment that it is “ob­serv­ing June as LGBT Pride Month to rec­og­nize DoD’s les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual and trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers and civil­ians.”

“The strug­gles, sac­ri­fices and suc­cesses among the LGBT com­mu­nity con­tinue to shape our his­tory and re­mind us to up­hold tol­er­ance and jus­tice for all,” said An­thony M. Kurta, a ca­reer fed­eral gov­ern­ment ex­ec­u­tive who is fil­ing in as un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense for per­son­nel and readi­ness.

Much of Mr. Trump’s Pen­tagon man­age­ment team ei­ther is awaiting Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion or has not been an­nounced.

A group called Mil­i­taryPart­ners.org has pub­lished a list of pride events out­side the Pen­tagon. In Ger­many, events in­clude a “Glow with Pride Party” at Spang­dahlem Air Base and an “In­au­gu­ral Equal­ity Golf Tour­na­ment” at Ram­stein Air Base. Mil­i­taryPart­ners says Barks­dale Air Force Base in Louisiana will host a “5K Rain­bow Run.”

Politico pointed out that the De­fense Equal Op­por­tu­nity Man­age­ment In­sti­tute at Pa­trick Air Force Base in Florida has not is­sued a spe­cial poster as it had for pre­vi­ous Gay Pride Months.

In 2016, the in­sti­tute said: “In cel­e­brat­ing Les­bian, Gay, Bi­sex­ual and Trans­gen­der Month in June, the De­fense Equal Op­por­tu­nity Man­age­ment In­sti­tute, proudly an­nounces orig­i­nal art­work avail­able for down­load from DEOMI’s pub­lic web­site.”

At last year’s cel­e­bra­tion, then-Navy Sec­re­tary Ray Mabus likened those op­posed to lift­ing a re­stric­tive pol­icy “don’t ask, don’t tell” as big­ots who fought de­seg­re­ga­tion.

Mr. Mabus said the ar­gu­ment against lift­ing the ban is “ex­actly the same flawed logic as those who had ear­lier op­posed racial in­te­gra­tion or gen­der in­te­gra­tion, claim­ing that poli­cies of in­clu­sion would erode the war-fight­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the United States.”

As for Mr. Trump not fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Demo­cratic pres­i­dents like Bill Clin­ton and Mr. Obama, the gay mil­i­tary sup­port group Outserve-SLDN said: “Don­ald Trump’s claim of sup­port of the LGBT com­mu­nity is just an­other one of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s al­ter­na­tive facts. When nearly 90% of Amer­i­cans know some­one who is LGBT, when hun­dreds of cities and towns across the na­tion host a Pride fes­ti­val, and when a vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans even sup­port same-sex mar­riage, 64% ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Gallup poll, it is un­con­scionable that the White House can’t make a procla­ma­tion rec­og­niz­ing Pride Month.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Though Pres­i­dent Trump has yet to is­sue a procla­ma­tion for LGBT Pride Month, armed forces are plan­ning cel­e­bra­tions world­wide. One event is at the Pen­tagon court­yard.

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