In a remarkable turnaround, the Pentagon has announced that it will commemorate June as gay Pride month, in the same way that it marks other occasions honouring ethnic or racial groups.
The news comes less than a year after America lifted its controversial ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban, in September 2011, on gays and lesbians serving in the military .
Until that point, any member of the military who was found to be gay or lesbian faced dismissal.
According to the Associated Press, an imminent military event to honour the contribution of LGBT service members has been spearheaded by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
“Now that we’ve repealed `don’t ask, don’t tell,’ he feels it’s important to find a way this month to recognise the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman, told the news service.
Details of the event are still being ironed out and are to be announced soon.
Contrary to scare-mongering predictions from right-wing groups in the U.S., the military appears to have adapted remarkably well to having openly gay and lesbian staff.
A recent military report said that to-date there have been no negative consequences of the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal.
Earlier this month, President Barack Obama officially proclaimed June as LGBT Pride Month in the United States.