- - Sunday, May 28, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I am disappointed by your decision to publish an opinion piece that blatantly disrespects brave Americans who proudly serve our nation in uniform. In a very specific attack on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members, Rebecca Hagelin, the author of “Peace through diversity?” (Web, May 21) ridiculously argues that embracing the diversity of our armed forces somehow harms military readiness. Such outrageous nonsense and disregard for the strength of our military and those who serve in it are beyond reprehensible.

Patriotic Americans who risk their lives for our freedom deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and held in the highest esteem, not degraded with unfounded, agenda-driven rhetoric. Yet Ms. Hagelin singles out transgender service members in her disgraceful argument that the Trump administration should reverse the progress we’ve made toward allowing anyone who is qualified and willing to serve.

Furthermore, Ms. Hagelin reveals her lack of knowledge and deep-seated contempt for LGBTQ people by referencing Elaine Donnelly as an “authority” on military readiness. For decades, Ms. Donnelly has argued that service by women and lesbian, gay and bisexual people would destroy military readiness. She has been proven wrong over and over again.

The United States of America has the strongest, most powerful military in the world. To argue otherwise is as absurd as it is offensive. The military is also made up of a diverse fabric of proud, patriotic people who truly represent America. Unlike Hagelin’s piece, inclusive policies that celebrate that diversity are enhancing — not harming — military readiness. Semper Fi.

STEPHEN PETERS

National press secretary

Human Rights Campaign

Washington

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