More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
OutServe Announces Launch of an International Magazine for LGBT Service Members
OutServe, an organization of LGBT active duty members of the Unites States Armed Services, announced it will be launching an international publication for gay military personnel. The magazine will cover the implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and other information important to actively serving LGBT military members. OutServe’s co-director, an active duty Air Force officer who goes by the pseudonym J.D. Smith, commented on the forthcoming magazine, saying, “Our first objective with the magazine is to let all the gay, lesbian, bi, and trans members currently serving know that they are not alone…We are not about highlighting our differences, but demonstrating how LGBT troops are proud soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coasties, and Marines just like everyone else.”
OutServe began as Citizens for Repeal (CFR) after an active duty officer sent an email to several friends in October 2009 regarding the harrasment he was facing under the discriminatory law. Shortly after that email was sent, the officer and his friends launched a website in order to share stories and foster support for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In response to the significant lack of representation for LGBT service members, OutServe began using social media to connect active duty LGBT personnel and give them a voice in the debate. Through this effort, OutServe has connected over 2,600 LGBT service members and has more than 40 chapters worldwide.
OutServe gained national attention in June when a letter from the organization criticizing the Pentagon for not including the input of LGBT active duty members in its months-long study on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal appeared in the Denver Post. As a result, OutServe became the largest facilitator for the RAND study that was included in the Pentagon’s report on the repeal.
Now that the repeal process is underway, OutServe is committed to providing public information about the implementation training programs designed to prepare military personnel for the open service of gay and lesbian service members. The organization has recently posted details of the various training programs on its blog. Although similar training methods are being utilized in each service, there is some variation.
J.D. Smith, who is gay, spoke with the Air Force Times about his own experience in the training program. The Air Force’s training program, like those of the other services, has been organized into three “Tiers” based on the rank of personnel being trained. The “Tier 3” training, which includes everyone except leadership, the experts who implement the changes and personnel providing repeal-related services, includes a Power Point presentation and a video outlining what is expected of airmen once "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been repealed. J.D. told the Air Force Times that while the training simply reiterated what he and many service members already believe, he is excited by what the training indicates – that the United States is that much closer to a full repeal of the antiquated, anti-gay policy.