Our Quietest Advocate? 3 Pro-LGBT Actions From the Military That You Don't Know About
Yesterday, via OutServe Magazine, I reported on the biggest change to military HIV policy since mass testing went into effect in 1980. In a nutshell, the U.S. Navy now allows HIV-positive Sailors and Marines to receive overseas assignments. Before this year, all HIV-positive members of the military were prohibited from stepping foot on foreign soil, even in times of peace and in non-combat zones.
You can read more about the significance of the policy update here, but service members and veterans know that assignments have a profound impact on career trajectories, and that was reason enough for the U.S. Navy to act. The memorandum states that the change intends to "reflect current knowledge" of HIV and points to the overseas ban as having "made this subset of personnel less competitive in achieving career milestones or warrior qualifications."
That is some really progressive language. The Navy has taken steps not only to retain HIV-positive personnel but to ensure that they have a fair shot at promotion. But the memorandum was released in August. Why hasn't anyone heard of it? (It was complete luck that I stumbled upon it myself.) The Armed Forces, long criticized as a bastion of homophobia, could certainly use the gay blessing.
Apparently, the military does things a little differently. Staying true to its nonpartisan roots, or at least attempting not to appear overtly pro-LGBT, the military has actually developed quite a portfolio of not-well-publicized socially progressive initiatives under the Obama administration. Here are a few other things they've been up to under the gaydar: