United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month

Working Group to Study Implications of Transgender Service

A Defense Department working group will study the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly in the military, and its work will presume they can do so unless objective and practical impediments are identified, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced. Story

Defense Secretary's Chief of Staff Praises Department's LGBT Support

Eric Fanning, Defense Secretary Ash Carter's chief of staff, spoke to Defense Intelligence Agency employees June 24 about the immense changes he’s seen in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender environment at the Defense Department over the past 20 years.

Carter: Diversity, Inclusion Critical to Force of Future

Embracing diversity and inclusion is critical to recruiting and retaining the force of the future, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at the Pentagon’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month event today. Story

DoD Updates Equal Opportunity Policy to Include Sexual Orientation

The Defense Department has updated its military equal opportunity program to protect service members against discrimination because of sexual orientation, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said here today. Story

Department's Pride Month Observance Highlights LGBT Leadership

The president declared June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, and the Defense Department is highlighting the importance of leadership as it celebrates the achievements and sacrifices of LGB service members and LGBT civilians. Story

President Proclaims June as LGBT Pride Month

The federal government, including the Defense Department, is leading by example to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens "are judged by the quality of their work, not by who they love," President Barack Obama said. Story

Notable Quotes

  • "The Department of Defense has made a lasting commitment to living the values we defend - to treating everyone equally - because we need to be a meritocracy. We have to focus relentlessly on our mission, which means the thing that matters most about a person is what they can contribute to national defense."

    - Defense Secretary Ash Carter at the Department of Defense LGBT Pride Month Ceremony, June 9, 2015 Source
  • "I firmly believe that our all-volunteer force is now stronger because of the diversity and culture of inclusion we celebrate this very day and this entire month. The United States military is, without a doubt, the finest in the world today."

    - Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work at the 2014 Department of Defense Pride Month celebration Source
  • "The DoD human goals charter we are resigning today affirms that noble American conviction. The virtues we celebrate today are the very fabric of our profession of arms. The quality, dignity and respect comprise the cloth of our culture."

    - Army General Martin Dempsey at the 2014 signing of the Department of Defense Human Goals Charter Source
  • "We must therefore continue to work every day - every day - to ensure that DOD is a model of equal opportunity and fair treatment."

    - Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work at the 2014 Pride Month celebration Source
  • "Today's achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them."

    - President Barack Obama at the signing of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, September 20, 2011 Source
  • "What matters is an individual's patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. And that's all that ever should."

    - Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work at the 2014 Department of Defense Pride Month celebration Source

Proclamation

"During Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, we celebrate the proud legacy LGBT individuals have woven into the fabric of our Nation, we honor those who have fought to perfect our Union, and we continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are."

Portrait of President Obama.President Barack Obama
May 2015
Presidential Proclamation

Facts of the Day

June 2015

  • June 1, 2015

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month is currently celebrated each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. The Stonewall riots were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. The purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

    Source
  • June 2, 2015

    On June 1, 2009, President Obama issued a proclamation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month, pointing to contributions made by LGBT Americans both in promoting equal rights to all regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and in broader initiatives, such as the response to the global HIV pandemic. Obama ended the proclamation by calling upon the people of the United States to "turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists."

    Source
  • June 3, 2015

    In June 2000, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13160, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, and status as a parent in federally conducted education and training programs. The order was issued to achieve equal opportunity in all federally conducted education and training programs.

    Source
  • June 4, 2015

    "Celebrating Pride Month, like any other monthly observance, is validating that there is one inherent trait every Airman possesses and our institution benefits from ... and that's the diversity in each Airman's unique background and experience."

    - Major General Patricia Rose, speaking at the Pride Month luncheon at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts

    Source
  • June 5, 2015

    In December 1993, the Department of Defense issued the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" directive, prohibiting the U.S. military from barring applicants from service based on their sexual orientation. The directive stated that applicants would "not be asked or required to reveal whether they are homosexual," but it still forbade applicants from engaging in homosexual acts or making a statement that they were homosexual.

    Source
  • June 6, 2015

    Approximately 14,500 service members were discharged between 1993 and 2011 under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

    Source
  • June 7, 2015

    On December 22, 2010, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) Repeal Act became law. It provided for the repeal of DADT to be effective 60 days after the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certified to Congress that the armed forces were prepared to implement the repeal. Certification occurred July 22, 2011, and the repeal occurred September 20, 2011.

    Source
  • June 8, 2015

    In 2014, the Department of Defense Human Goals Charter was updated, for the first time including sexual orientation in the section dealing with the military. The charter, first signed in 1969, is the cornerstone document governing the DoD's fair treatment of people, and its diversity and equity programs. Mention of sexual orientation is included in the charter's instructions on attaining the stated goals and in its desire to be "a model of equal opportunity" in civilian and military employment.

    Source
  • June 9, 2015

    All service members, regardless of sexual orientation, are entitled to an environment free from personal, social, or institutional barriers that prevent them from rising to the highest level of responsibility possible. Harassment or abuse based on sexual orientation is unacceptable and will be dealt with through command or inspector general channels.

    Source
  • June 10, 2015

    On November 11, 1950, the Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization in the U.S., was founded by Harry Hay in Los Angeles, California. The society sought to change the way homosexuality was viewed by the American public, to integrate homosexual people into mainstream society, and to "eliminate discrimination, derision, prejudice and bigotry."

    Source
  • June 11, 2015

    The first lesbian rights organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis, was founded in San Francisco, California, on September 21, 1955. The Daughters of Bilitis hosted social functions in order to provide lesbians with an alternative to the bars and clubs that were often subjected to police raids.

    Source
  • June 12, 2015

    When she was promoted to brigadier general on August 10, 2012, Army Reserve officer Tammy Smith became the first general officer in the U.S. military to be openly gay while serving. During Smith's promotion ceremony, her wife, Tracey Hepner, pinned the general star onto her uniform. Smith, who had been in the military for 26 years at the time, served as the director for Army Reserve Human Capital.

    Source
  • June 13, 2015

    On June 2, 2000, President Clinton issued Proclamation No. 7316 (PDF) for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month: "This June, recognizing the joys and sorrows that the gay and lesbian movement has witnessed and the work that remains to be done, we observe Gay and Lesbian Pride Month and celebrate the progress we have made in creating a society more inclusive and accepting of gays and lesbians."

    Source
  • June 14, 2015

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBT Americans. In June of 1969, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City staged an uprising to resist the police harassment and persecution to which LGBT Americans were commonly subjected. This uprising marks the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBT Americans.

    Source
  • June 15, 2015

    On January 13, 1958, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of homosexuals for the first time when it upheld the First Amendment rights of One: The Homosexual Magazine in the landmark case of One, Inc. v. Olesen. The suit was filed in response to a declaration by the United States Postal Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigations that the magazine was obscene material.

    Source
  • June 16, 2015

    The 2014 Human Goals Charter states, "Our nation was founded on the principle that the individual has infinite dignity and worth. The Department of Defense, which exists to keep the nation secure and at peace, must always be guided by this principle. In all that we do, we must show respect for the serviceman, the servicewoman, the civilian employee, and family members, recognizing their individual needs, aspirations, and capabilities."

    Source
  • June 17, 2015

    Frank Kameny was fired from the U.S. Army Map Service and banned from federal employment in 1957 because he was gay. He became the central figure in confronting the government's policies against the employment of gays and lesbians, particularly in positions linked to national security. His collection of thousands of pages of letters, government correspondence, testimony, photographs, and other memorabilia is perhaps the most complete record of the gay-rights movement in America.

    Source
  • June 18, 2015

    Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. DoD components, including the services, are not authorized to request, collect, or maintain information about the sexual orientation of service members, except when it is an essential part of an otherwise appropriate investigation or other official action.

    Source
  • June 19, 2015

    The Library of Congress is the largest single repository of world knowledge in a single place. The library's numerous collections contain many books, posters, sound recordings, manuscripts, and other material produced by, about, and for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. The contributions of members of the LGBT community are preserved as part of our nation's history, and include noted artistic works, musical compositions, and contemporary novels.

    Source
  • June 20, 2015

    Anthony Loverde had been an Air Force staff sergeant for seven years when he was discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy after telling his commander that he was gay in 2008. He then worked as a military contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he took part in the legal battle challenging the constitutionality of DADT. In May 2012, he reentered the Air Force as a staff sergeant, becoming the second person and first gay Airman to return to active duty since DADT was repealed.

    Source
  • June 21, 2015

    In 1993, the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation drew an estimated 300,000 to 1.1 million activists to the U.S. capital. Among the groups supporting and participating in the march were the National Organization of Women and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The support of such influential civil rights organizations strengthened the movement for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual rights legislation.

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  • June 22, 2015

    Bayard Rustin was an openly gay civil rights activist, social reformer, pacifist, AIDS activist, and author. He was the chief organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. The papers of Bayard Rustin were presented to the Library of Congress between 1988 and 1994 as a bequest from Rustin via Walter Naegle, executor of Rustin's estate and his partner from 1977 until Rustin's death in 1987.

    Source
  • June 23, 2015

    Frank Kameny was fired from his government job in 1957 for being gay. In 1961, he became the first to petition the Supreme Court for a civil rights violation based on sexual orientation. His petition was denied, but he kept fighting for gay rights. In 2011, when the Library of Congress included items from the gay rights movement in an exhibit, he said, "All I can say is from the long view, 50 years, we have moved ahead in a way that would have been absolutely unimaginable back then."

    Source
  • June 24, 2015

    In President Barack Obama's second Inaugural Address he said, "We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths-that all of us are created equal-is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

    Source
  • June 25, 2015

    In 1975, Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich was discharged from the service after he appeared in uniform on the cover of Time magazine along with the headline "I am a Homosexual." Matlovich, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, had his discharge upgraded from "general" to "honorable" after winning a case against the Air Force in 1979. In 1988, at age 44, he died of complications from AIDS and was buried with full military honors at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

    Source
  • June 26, 2015

    The United Nations Charter was signed by delegates from 50 nations on June 26, 1945. The charter calls for the maintenance of peace, international security, promotion of social progress and higher living standards, and respect for human rights. On October 24, 1945, the charter was ratified by the UN Security Council's five permanent members and a majority of the other signatories.

    Source
  • June 27, 2015

    On June 26, 2012, the Department of Defense held its first ever LGBT Pride Month event at the Pentagon, commending the service and sacrifice of gay and lesbian service members and LGBT civilian personnel. The event followed the full implementation of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, and it included a panel discussion on "The Value of Open Service and Diversity."

    Source
  • June 28, 2015

    In 1966, gay rights activists held a "sip-in" at the Julius Bar in Greenwich Village. The New York Liquor Authority prohibited serving gay patrons, claiming that homosexuals were disorderly. The activists announced their homosexuality and were refused service. They sued the New York Liquor Authority. No laws were overturned, but the New York City Commission on Human Rights declared that homosexuals have the right to be served alcohol.

    Source
  • June 29, 2015

    In February 2015, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter selected former acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning as his chief of staff, making him the first openly gay man to occupy the office. Fanning previously was a deputy undersecretary of the Navy, an associate producer at CBS News in New York City, a public relations executive, and a congressional and White House staffer in the administration of former President Bill Clinton.

    Source
  • June 30, 2015

    "We recognize gay, lesbian and bisexual service members and LGBT civilians for their dedicated service to our country; the heroic contributions made by these Americans strengthen our national security. Whether officer, enlisted, civilian employee, or family member, their inclusion gives our Department greater promise and possibility."

    - Clarence A. Johnson, Director, Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity

    Source

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