President Trump has not yet issued a proclamation for LGBT Pride Month, but the U.S. Armed Forces are planning celebrations worldwide and will continue the tradition of holding a special event at the Pentagon courtyard on June 12.
Speakers typically include gay, lesbian and transgender personnel who tell personal stories and reflect on President Obama’s decision to open the ranks to them six years ago.
Some in the Pentagon wondered if a conservative Republican administration and Defense Secretary James Mattis, a former Marine four-star general, would continue the Pentagon’s practice of encouraging events at bases and installations. The Marine Corps was alone in opposing Mr. Obama’s decision to lift the ban.
But the Defense Department confirmed in a June 2 statement that it is “observing June as LGBT Pride Month to recognize DoD’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and civilians.”
“The struggles, sacrifices and successes among the LGBT community continue to shape our history and remind us to uphold tolerance and justice for all,” said Anthony M. Kurta, a career federal government executive who is filing in as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
Much of Mr. Trump’s Pentagon management team either is awaiting Senate confirmation or has not been announced.
A group called MilitaryPartners.org has published a list of pride events outside the Pentagon. In Germany, events include a “Glow with Pride Party” at Spangdahlem Air Base and an “Inaugural Equality Golf Tournament” at Ramstein Air Base. MilitaryPartners says Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana will host a “5K Rainbow Run.”
Politico pointed out that the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida has not issued a special poster as it had for previous Gay Pride Months.
In 2016, the institute said: “In celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Month in June, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, proudly announces original artwork available for download from DEOMI’s public website.”
The Pentagon is displaying a new poster for this month’s celebration. It shows a mass of hanging identification dog tags with the caption “Department of Defense LGBT Pride Month. Pride In All Who Serve.”
At last year’s celebration, then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus likened those opposed to lifting a restrictive policy “don’t ask, don’t tell” as bigots who fought desegregation.
Mr. Mabus said the argument against lifting the ban is “exactly the same flawed logic as those who had earlier opposed racial integration or gender integration, claiming that policies of inclusion would erode the war-fighting capabilities of the United States.”
As for Mr. Trump not following in the footsteps of Democratic presidents like Bill Clinton and Mr. Obama, the gay military support group Outserve-SLDN said: “Donald Trump’s claim of support of the LGBT community is just another one of the administration’s alternative facts. When nearly 90% of Americans know someone who is LGBT, when hundreds of cities and towns across the nation host a Pride festival, and when a vast majority of Americans even support same-sex marriage, 64% according to a recent Gallup poll, it is unconscionable that the White House can’t make a proclamation recognizing Pride Month.”