A married Army general on Tuesday introduced his spouse at a Pentagon event that featured lots of top brass, including Defense Secretary Ashton Carter as the keynote speaker.
What made this seemingly routine introduction noteworthy is that Brig. Gen. Randy S. Taylor introduced his husband, Lucas.
“My husband Lucas is sitting up front here,” Gen. Taylor said of the man in the same row as Mr. Carter, Army Secretary John McHugh and other senior officials. He said Lucas has subjugated his own career to support the general’s frequent moves over an 18-year relationship.
“We bet everything on my Army career,” said Gen. Taylor, whose 27 years of service spanned an outright ban on gays, then “don’t ask, don’t tell” and finally, the ban’s lifting in 2011.
Gen. Taylor was the master of ceremonies for the Pentagon’s 4th Gay Pride celebration that showcases a month of gay-themed posters and history.
A panel discussion featured a gay Marine officer, a gay Army sergeant who is a criminal investigator, a lesbian chaplain and a transgender woman, Amanda Simpson, who is executive director of the Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives.
PHOTOS: BOOM! U.S. military turns ISIS targets to rubble
She is the first openly transgender political appointee in any presidential administration. She was chosen for the civilian post, she said, because she was “the best person to do the job.”
All four introduced their wives, husbands, and, in one case, a fiancé before a filled auditorium.
Mr. Carter spoke of his commitment to equal rights, but gave no hint of whether the administration will drop the ban on transgenders and transexuals wearing the uniform.
“We need to be a meritocracy,” he said. “We can’t afford to close ourselves off to any body …. We must start from a position of inclusivity.”
Trained as an infantryman, Gen. Taylor is a communications and information specialist who deployed to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is now assigned to the Army office of chief of information.
The Pride event kicked off with the National Anthem, sung by the Rock Creek Singers, who are with the Gay Men’s Chorus.
PHOTOS: Top 10 U.S. fighter jets