The chaplain’s memo seems to begin and end with a commitment to honoring LGBT service members and their families…yet some of the guidance issued seems to alienate some LGBT couples based on the sole discretion of various endorsing agencies.
Explaining the past is difficult for anyone who is transgender. Stories of playing softball for your alma mater become blended with your brother’s experiences playing baseball so you don’t “out” yourself as transgender. Explaining how you busted your knee in high school football becomes a story about playing a powderpuff pick-up game with friends.
Memorial Day weekend is, first and foremost, about remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It honors the many sacrifices of those who served and who are currently serving. It lifts up families and friends who have lost loved ones to combat and in the line of duty. It recognizes the best our nation had and has to offer.
Underneath my cover, I walk a straight line, returning salutes as I pass. A sergeant salutes and says, “Good morning, Sir.”
A warm glow flushes my cheeks, and I reply, “Good morning!” Closer to work a familiar face draws near and salutes; “Good morning, Ma’am.” A heavy feeling of discontent weighs on me, and I return the salute with the grudging reply, “Good morning.”
By Dan Ross
I am married to Lieutenant Gary Ross. He graduated from high school a year early and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1995 at the age of 17. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was already in effect and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) went into effect the following year. After a few years, Gary decided to become an officer and he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. He began school in 1998 and I met him on a dating website in 2000. We have been in a committed relationship for over 13 years. Gary graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2002 and his class was the first class to graduate into war after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. He has been assigned to several ships and he is currently the Combat Systems Officer on U.S.S. ANCHORAGE (LPD 23) in San Diego.
In the past few months, same sex military partners have been part of the collective American conversation. When the Fort Bragg Spouse’s Club resorted to naked discrimination and active condescension to keep Ashley Broadway out, it was splashed all over the news. When Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta extended as many benefits as possible to married same sex partners under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the LGB community celebrated. When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Article III of DOMA, the plight of same sex military couples was front and center in the reasons for striking the law down.
I have the pleasure of introducing myself as I begin duties as the new Director of Chapter and Member Services. I am very excited about this position, which I am assuming after proudly serving a 26-year career in the U.S. Army. I cannot think of a more important and meaningful way to continue to serve others than to work on behalf of LGBT service members, veterans, and our families. I am very grateful to have this opportunity and I look forward to working closely with each of you as we continue to advance the important work of OutServe-SLDN.
Our military’s mantra of “mission first, people always” is being stymied by a law — one that’s been declared unconstitutional by three federal district courts. Arguments before the Supreme Court in March reiterated that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is itself indefensible. Significantly, the points presented exposed the unintended, and still widely unrecognized, detrimental consequences that DOMA has on national security because of the serious harm it causes to our military and their families.
Rachel Bolyard looks pretty much like most of the other contractors who have spent most of the past decade living and working in the CENTCOM AOR. She’s prior military, having spent seven years in the Army from 1988 through 1995 …