It was not long ago that gay and lesbian troops could not openly serve in the military, but in the last six months things have taken a dramatic turn.This month, the Department of Defense is hosting its first ever event to recognize gay and lesbian troops while marking June as gay pride month, The Associated Press reports.
There are no specific details just yet, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to honor homosexual soldiers much like the Armed Forces have paid tribute to other diverse groups among its ranks. Given the recent progress for equal rights, it seems like a logical next step.
"Now that we've repealed 'don't ask, don't tell,' he feels it's important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops," spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby told the AP.
Don't ask, don't tell was repealed last fall after years of debate. Before the policy was repealed, gay and lesbian troops could serve, but still faced discrimination because they could not openly discuss their sexuality. Around 13,500 soldiers left the Armed Forces as a result. However, according to the AP, any soldiers discharged under the policy were eligible to apply for re-entry.