US flag and rainbow flag in DC | Photo: Flickr/Ted Eytan
The US Pentagon, for the first time in years, isn’t acknowledging Pride month in an official capacity.
Since President Barack Obama repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 2011, the Department of Defense sent out a memo honoring the month. This year, no memo went out.
As the Washington Post explains, ‘the memo is distributed as LGBT Pride Month begins each June, effectively endorsing the observance and encouraging personnel to hold local events’. It also puts ‘LGBT Pride Month on par with other special observances and heritage months’.
The absence of a memo invites questions and suspicious, especially with Donald Trump’s past position.
This is despite the fact that the Pentagon has not entirely stood behind the ban.
‘It makes it known there’s support’
Officials within the Pentagon and past administrations commented on the lack of a memo.
Some, such as a former senior Obama official, expressed support for the memo.
‘It opens the door for LGBT service members, civilians and their allies on military bases to hold events recognizing Pride Month without having to ask for special permission or an exception,’ they said. ‘It makes it known that there’s an authorization, that there’s support.’
Pentagon spokeswoman Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason gave a non-answer about the memo’s absence this year.
She simply said: ‘The Department of Defense supports diversity of all kinds across our military and we encourage everyone to celebrate the diversity of our total force team. . . . We value all members of the DOD total force and recognize their immense contributions to the mission.’
Despite this, an LGBT group at the Pentagon held an event on Monday (11 June). No high-ranking leaders within the department made appearances and remarks, though, which also used to be common.