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Pentagon breaks tradition by not marking Pride month as trans ban looms

Jess Glass June 12, 2018

Secretary of Defense James Mattis and President Trump (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Senior staff within the Pentagon have broken tradition by failing to acknowledge Pride month for the first time in six years.

According to The Washington Post, the Pentagon failed to issue a memo marking the beginning of Pride month.

This is the first year the Pentagon has not marked the LGBT celebration since the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2011, a policy that banned openly gay troops.

The proposed ban on transgender troops has sparked protests (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The absence of the memo has reportedly caused concerns, particularly in light of the current attempts to ban transgender troops from the military.

A former senior Obama administration official told The Washington Post about how important the annual memo is.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, stated: “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.

“It makes it known that there’s an authorization, that there’s support.”

Part of 2017’s Pentagon memo marking Pride month (defence.gov)

An LGBT employee group within the Defense Department reportedly held their own event without the official observance memo.

As well as failing to issue the memo, no senior member of Pentagon staff has acknowledged Pride month.

President Trump has also failed to recognise Pride month for the second year in a row.

Traditionally, the President issues a Pride month proclamation, as well as hosting LGBT inclusive events in the White House.

However, since Trump became President in 2017, these have been suspended.

President Trump showed support for LGBT rights during the campaign (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Speaking on behalf of the Pentagon, Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason told the publication that the Pentagon supported diversity, but did not disclose why the memo had not been sent.

Gleason stated: “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.”

Protesters gather in front of the White House July 26, 2017, in Washington, DC. Trump announced on July 26 that transgender people may not serve "in any capacity" in the US military, citing the "tremendous medical costs and disruption" their presence would cause. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL J. RICHARDS (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)
Protests occurred outside of the White House (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

In April, 49 US Senators signed a letter condemning the proposed ban on transgender people from serving in the military.

The letter, which was sent to Defence Secretary James Mattis on April 26, equated the administration’s anti-trans move to the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy.

The Senators slammed a memo sent by Mattis to Trump in February, in which the Defence Secretary goes against numerous studies and military figures’ statements to say that there are “substantial risks” associated with trans servicepeople, calling them “an unreasonable burden on the military.”

The Trump administration’s proposed ban on trans servicepeople has not yet been implemented due to multiple court challenges.

However, Mattis has since recommended a new policy banning those who experience gender dysphoria, or those who have or hope to have gender confirmation surgeries.

More: current affairs, Pentagon, Politics, Pride, Pride month, Trans, Transgender, US, US

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