Brenda S. Fulton

In a sign of the pending inclusion of LGBT people in the US military, President Obama has appointed an openly-lesbian former Army officer to the board of a top US military academy.

Brenda S. Fulton, a retired Army Captain, was appointed to the Board of Visitors of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which advises Obama on matters concerning the academy.

Fulton (52) has been an active campaigner against the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving in the military. She is also the executive director of Knights Out, an organisation of LGBT West Point graduates.

“I would hope [the appointment] would symbolise to all people gay and straight that anti-gay bias in the military is a thing of the past. I would hope it would tell them that if you’re willing to serve your country and you’re qualified, other factors don’t matter,” she told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

“I see my role as in some sense helping West point send that message–that we respect all people equally. That’s part of our values, that’s part of our code,” said Fulton, who graduated from West Point in 1980.

Speaking about the pending repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, she commented: “I believe they are proceeding in good faith to implement repeal, and I foresee very few if any problems with repeal in West Point.”

Founded in 1802, the West Point academy produces around 1,000 military graduates every year.

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