About Face

Defense Secretary Hagel May Attend Pentagon Pride Event

Live long enough and you’ll see everything. Case in point: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who had a consistently antigay record when he was a Senator, may well show up at a Pride event at the Pentagon to honor lesbian and gay service members. Hagel’s appearance would represent the first time a Defense Secretary attend the event  and would be a high-profile exercise in political fence-mending. Hagel’s attendance is dependent on his calendar.

“The DoD Pride Organization is in the process of organizing an event at the Pentagon later this month,” Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, a DOD spokesperson, told the Washington Blade. “No firm date has yet been set. DOD Pride is a private organization which is comprised of DOD civilians and service members whose charter is to represent LGB service members, LGBT civilian employees, contractors, and families throughout the Department of Defense.”

That there is an officially sanctioned  Pride event at the Pentagon at all highlights how far the military has come. The Pentagon has formally recognized June as Pride Month.

Of course, as much as the moves represent progress, they don’t represent full progress. Transgender service members are conspicuously missing from the celebration since gender identity is still cause for discharge.