Hagel Hosts LGBT Pride Month Event at Pentagon

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett and acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning all highlighted the importance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the military at an LGBT pride event at the Pentagon on Tuesday. “All of us are created equal,” said Hagel in his opening speech, which emphasized the efforts DOD has made to secure equal rights for its employees. Hagel noted that allowing LGBT service members to serve openly makes “our nation and our military…much stronger.” Jarrett echoed Hagel’s comments, commending him for the emphasis he has placed on eliminating sexual harassment and discrimination within DOD. “Being honest about your sexual orientation should not disqualify you from proudly serving our country,” she said. The event capped off with a speech by Fanning, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the Defense Department. “Your presence here today means more than you could possibly understand,” Fanning told Hagel during his speech. He added, “Events like this give voice not just to us, but to those who support us.” This is the first time a Defense Secretary has spoken at a Pentagon pride event since the Clinton-era don’t ask, don’t tell law, which banned LGBT service members from openly serving, was repealed in 2010. (Hagel transcript)