Throughout the Army’s history, brave lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Soldiers and civilians have served and fought for our nation. LGBT Soldiers and civilians have served with honor and pride, and have also faced numerous challenges because of their membership in the community. Frank Kameny, who served in World War II and also served as a civilian astronomer with the U.S. Army Map Service, was fired and banned from federal employment in 1957 because he was gay. He became one of the first LGBT advocates to confront the government’s ban on employment of LGBT people, especially in positions linked to national security. In 1978, Army veteran Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag that serves as a symbol of LGBT pride. And, in 2012 Maj. Gen. Tammy Smith became the first openly gay U.S. Army flag officer to serve since the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
June is designated as LGBT Pride Month to commemorate the members of the LGBT community who are part of the legacy of our nation and our Army, and to recognize the contributions that the LGBT community has made to the defense of our country.
Since the repeal of DoD’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, homosexual service members have served openly, with honor and integrity in the U.S. Armed Forces. Further, veterans discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy can now apply for a discharge upgrade.
The U.S. Army embraces diversity and inclusion as ways to create a system that maximizes individual talents, increases morale and enhances military effectiveness. The Army relies on our diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise to enable us to address the complex challenges of the world. That is why, today, the service is open to all individuals who can meet the physical and mental fitness and world-wide deployability standards that qualify any applicant for military service.
Diversity, equity and inclusion are integral to overall readiness and mission accomplishment of the total force. Army leaders are committed to shaping policy and setting the conditions to foster and sustain a culture in which all Soldiers are able to have viable military careers and opportunities to reach their full potential, and will continue to sustain force capability by promoting and enforcing an open, diverse and inclusive culture that acquires, develops, employs and retains the best talent.