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.
BY IT1(SW/AW) Christopher Hooper, OutServe-SLDN Virginia Chapter Leader
For the past 18 months I have been stationed onboard Pre-Commissioning Detachment/Unit USS ARLINGTON (LPD 24). I used to be one of those people who took U.S. Navy ships for granted. Get orders, go to a new command—for the most part it seems simple. However, for me it has not been so simple.
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.
By Capt. Matthew Phelps, USMC
As members of the military know, a single year will often be packed with changes that most civilians can’t begin to imagine. Deployments, transfers, duty assignments, and even colleagues change for us with a regularity that would make the average person’s head spin. We are conditioned to accept change as a constant, and although we can become accustomed to it, our families often bear the burden of keeping the pace.
This issue of OutServe Magazine comes at an exciting time for our organization. Indeed, we are seeing incredible and unprecedented growth in OutServe-SLDN and in our fight for an inclusive, respectful military that honors the service and sacrifice of all …
When I joined the Air Force, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) remained in effect, if only for a little while. I was jubilant when I heard that Congress had lifted the policy as I waited in line to receive my rifle one morning. At that exact moment, I recall hearing a Sergeant, who I looked up to, mutter under his breath just loud enough for the rest of us to hear, “fucking faggots,” as he stormed past the clearing barrel. In this moment I fully understood that although DADT was gone, there was much work to be done. And as a brand new Airman, I remained silent. I even felt the need to express my own dissatisfaction with the repeal of the law to avoid hostile retribution.
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.