WASHINGTON — Today is the beginning of Pride Month, a month designated to celebrate the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ community. Common Defense celebrates this month by uplifting our queer service members and veterans while honoring the historic tradition of demanding better for queer people everywhere.
Common Defense Communications Director Jacob Thomas released the following statement:
“As an out, gay veteran who served both during and after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I know firsthand that queer service members have always existed in every branch of service. Yet it is only recently that we have been allowed to openly celebrate our identities. Common Defense is celebrating the legacy and the sacrifice of our LGBTQ service members and veterans by calling for better legislation and policy to protect all queer people.
“In the past couple of years, there has been a wave of harmful anti-trans laws passed in several states, including Florida, Texas, and Alabama. These laws that do not allow trans children to access the healthcare they need or to openly express who they are is wrong on every level. From the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell days, we are more than aware of what it feels like to constantly be forced further and further into the closet, and we refuse to let that happen to the growing generation of LGBTQ children.
“In light of the recently leaked draft Supreme Court opinion, it’s clear that the threats aren’t just coming from state legislatures–they’re also coming from our nation’s far-right dominated court. If the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, there is a very real chance that the logic to do so does not stop with the right to abortion. This same regressive logic could be used to undermine other precedents like decriminalizing homosexuality and securing marriage equality–actions that would have devastating consequences for the LGBTQ+ community.
“While the trans ban and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may not be in effect anymore, military service members and veterans who identify as queer are still directly impacted by the homophobic and regressive laws being passed across the country. According to a leaked Army policy, service members may soon be allowed to relocate if the state they live in is deemed too homophobic, racist, or sexist to live in. While we appreciate this effort to protect LGBTQ+ service members, it is unconscionable to think we need this policy to begin with.
“As veterans who put their lives on the line for this country, it is a disgrace to still be treated as Second Class citizens in our own country. With the threat of a SCOTUS on a warpath to gut longstanding rights, it has never been more urgent to steel ourselves for the fight ahead and place our might squarely behind finally passing the EQUALITY Act to enshrine LGBTQ+ people’s rights into federal law.”