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11:04AM

First openly gay US flag officer - a big move for all involved

Obviously a calculated gesture that had to have been cleared with a lot of people beforehand, but a very nice move by the US Army, Defense Department and the Obama Administration.  My hat off to all of them - especially the flag officer (newly promoted to BGEN) and her spouse.

An Army officer being promoted to brigadier general openly acknowledged her homosexuality on Friday by having her wife pin her star to her uniform, thus becoming the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States military.

Everyone knows we've had gays and lesbians in the military forever.  The only question left hanging all these years was: would we allow them their identity - openly - in exchange for their service?  Too much to ask?  Hardly.

It's a tough job and a hard life, and everybody deserves to be able to acknowledge their fundamental sexual identity while serving their country.

I can tell you exactly when the whole subject jumped the shark for me:  There was this study done sometime (I believe) in the 1990s.  An inside job where some trusted Pentagon contractor went back over the personnel records of the entire force throughout the entire Cold War, looking for instances in which homosexuality led to somebody being successfully blackmailed by the enemy.  Their finding?  Not a single case.  

Despite all those Allen Drury novels saying otherwise, nobody gay (uniform or civilian) ever had their secret used successfully against them in a security-breach manner.

It was at that point that I knew it was just a matter of time - and the right administration.

So my thanks to Obama on that score.

I have to admit that when I saw the headline in the NYT, I thought it was a gag.  I mean, I don't think there are any publicly acknowledged enlisted personnel, so how did somebody get all the way up to being a general, I thought (rather stupidly, I realize).  But then it struck me: the DoD wanted somebody prominent as the first to step forward in this manner, and somebody going from officer to flag is the perfect tipping point in a career to hold up as an example.  

Very smart.

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Reader Comments (1)

There are a number of acknowledged enlisted personnel. Here are some links:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/navy-gay-kiss-photo-echoes-famous-v-j-day-image/2011/12/22/gIQAiV0yBP_blog.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/marines-passionate-embrace-goes-viral-on-facebook-7462557.html

It's just not a big deal anymore.

August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBenjamin Walthrop

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