Target: Senator James Inhofe and Representative Randy Forbes
Goal: Rescind statements that troops should not be allowed to march in uniform at gay pride events and parades
Following the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the bill which prevented openly LGBTQ men and women from serving in the military, the Pentagon recently issued an official letter giving service members its blessing to wear uniforms this year when marching in the San Diego Gay Pride Parade. Following a successful parade without incident, in which all service members performed within the military’s standards for appearance and behavior while in uniform, certain conservative representatives have nonetheless voiced their objection to the Pentagon’s decision on the grounds that troops are not allowed to march or ride in a partisan political parade while in uniform.
In previous years, as many as 200 service members have marched together in San Diego pride out of uniform without incident. With the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Pentagon’s blessing to attend in uniform, this year’s parade featured over 400. Service members who were interviewed on the day of the parade almost universally reported that their participation, and the event itself, were not meant to be taken as a political statement in any way: rather, the event was simply a way of showing pride for their identity as both a service member and a member of the LGBTQ community.
Ask Republican Senator James Inhofe and Representative Randy Forbes to retract their statements regarding the inappropriateness of uniforms for a Pride parade and apologize for insinuating that service members marched with any particular political agenda in mind.
Dear Senator James Inhofe and Representative Randy Forbes,
Following the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, this year the Pentagon issued a blanket statement for the first time allowing all LGBTQ troops interested to march in uniform at the San Diego Pride Parade, as long as they received approval from commanding officers and abided by official military standards for appearance and behavior while in uniform. Combined with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the statement increased the number of service members marching in this year’s pride by about 200, all of whom carried themselves with professionalism and in a manner befitting their military status.
With this in mind, your statement that service members should be precluded from marching in uniform at Pride because of its supposed partisan/political status is not only offensive, but also absurd and paranoid. Any service member you might ask about the parade would tell you that their marching had absolutely nothing to do with their personal politics and everything to do with their decision to be proud of their identity both as a lgbtq person and a service member. To infer otherwise indicates a lack of trust in both the service members and in Pentagon officials for their decision that is shameful. I demand that you rescind your statement, and issue an official apology to the service members who marched in San Diego Pride.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Flickr via Matthew Bietz