Pentagon officials concerned over attacks on LGBTQ rights
June 15, 2023

In a recent event commemorating Pride Month at the Pentagon, senior Defense Department leaders sounded the alarm on the increasing number of state laws that target the LGBTQ community, warning that this trend is harming the armed forces.

The officials emphasized that the military’s LGBTQ and diverse communities are facing relentless attacks solely based on their differences.

Gil Cisneros, the Pentagon’s Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer expressed concern about the hostile environment created by anti-LGBTQ sentiments. He described the ongoing attacks as “hate for hate’s sake” and emphasized the detrimental impact it has on service members who simply seek to serve their country while being true to themselves.

“LGBTQ plus and other diverse communities are under attack, just because they are different”, said Cisneros.

Joining Cisneros, Space Force Chief Operating Officer Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt drew attention to the significant number of anti-LGBTQ-plus laws introduced at the state level since the beginning of the year.

Burt highlighted the alarming figure of over 400 such laws, emphasizing that the rising trend poses a danger not only to service members but also to their families and overall military readiness. She stressed that these discriminatory policies require immediate attention, and that transformative cultural change necessitates leadership from the top.

These comments from top military officials follow earlier remarks made by Air Force officials, who revealed the distressing reality faced by troops with LGBTQ family members.
These individuals were forced to relocate to new bases due to the harassment their children experienced at school, negatively impacting their focus on their duties and the overall force.

The current surge of state legislation targeting the LGBTQ community has intensified the LGBTQ rights debate across the country. Many of these laws focus on regulating curriculum in public schools, such as Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which opponents argue limits open discussions about sexual orientation and diversity. Additionally, these laws seek to restrict gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth, posing further challenges to the LGBTQ community.

Republican lawmakers have criticized the DoD’s diversity and inclusion policies, including personnel training on topics such as racial justice, arguing that they detract from military preparedness and recruitment efforts.

Representative Jim Banks, Chair of the House Armed Services Committee’s military personnel panel, voiced concerns that these policies have harmed recruitment, retention, and morale. However, DoD officials have firmly denied these accusations, emphasizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in building a strong and effective military.

In response to these accusations, top officials within the Department of Defense have vehemently denied these claims, defending the importance of diversity and inclusion in fostering a strong and effective military. They argue that promoting diversity within the armed forces enhances its ability to adapt, innovate, and tackle complex challenges in an increasingly diverse world.

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