The US Marine Corps has marked LGBTQ Pride Month. Anyone disagreeing with this gesture of support risks a blunt response from one serving member in particular.
In the first week of June (Pride Month), the Marines issued a statement saying: “During the month, we take the opportunity to recognize our LGBT Service Members and reflect upon the past. We celebrate their successes and recognize the contributions they have brought to our Corps. This year we celebrate the ten year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT).”
It goes on to explain the history of DADT and concludes, “The Marine Corps is committed to living the values we defend and treating everyone equally, and with dignity and respect. As such, the Marine Corps takes pride in building strength through diversity.”
It’s a welcome message, particularly given President Trump’s desire to exclude transgender troops.
The Marine Corp’s “strength in diversity” message has gained further traction this week after it was shared on Facebook by South Carolina’s Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island.
It was accompanied by a Pride-inspired image created by a Marine. After being posted on Monday, it has now had over 2.8k comments. Many have supported the message, but predictably, it’s also prompted howling from homophobes and those who don’t want gay people to “throw it in our faces.”
Step forward Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Bobby Yarbrough, who conducts communication, strategy and operations for the Corps. Yarbrough took time to respond to as many of the homophobic comments as possible, usually firing back with a blunt, honest and sassy response.
“Never thought I’d see this BS…I’m all for doing your own thing, but for it to be celebrated…wtf, over!!!” said Dave Drob. Yarborough responded, “We also celebrate Black History Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Month of the Military Child, etc. Should we stop celebrating those too?”
“I thought posting political statements on social media goes against the page 11 we all had to sign??” said another. Yarborough responded, “How is this political?” before posting a link to the Marines statement celebrating Pride Month.
One man expressed surprise that DADT was repealed ten years ago, thinking it had only happened in 2015/2016 and calling the posting a lie.
Yarborough posted a link to Wikipedia with the comment, “Google can honestly save your life.”
“What in the heck is this about?” asked Tom Berk. “Is this what the Corps is coming to? A social experiment?”
“Nope,” responded Yarborough. “We still fight wars. Some of our warfighters are LGBT. We like them to know we support them.”
And on and on it continued.
At one stage, Yarborough was accused of deleting negative comments.
“Hey stop deleting the negative comments. Let us open-minded Marines drag the close-minded ones,” said Bean Jamin. This prompted the threat of legal action from a Jarret Brown: “Pretty sad a government organization who main job is to defend the constitution is stomping on free speech. They better not be deleting anything or they will be catching a law suit.”
Yarborough responded: “I believe this thread of tasteless comments is evidence we let people speak their mind.” He went on to clarify that some comments were deleted if they contained keywords: “We can use keywords to hide comments with vulgarity, racism, sexism, etc. We can even ban individuals who routinely violate community standards of decency.”
Yarbrough’s responses have earned them a fan following. As one commentator said, earning plenty of likes, “People like CWO Yarbrough give me hope for the future of the Corps.”
“Officer Yarbrough, We love you and thank you for your service,” said Aly Xiong. “Please don’t lose that spirit.”
“Whoever this warrant officer is in charge of this page and low key trolling these fools, some of which of which are our brothers or at least claim to be, sir your my hero haha RAH!!!!” said Michael Cummins.