It hasn't been long since the government began discussing the end of its contentious "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) policy. With its official repeal only a month away, a new, gay-themed military magazine is set to hit base exchange stores (shops for military personnel).
The magazine, called OutServe, is named after the gay rights group that publishes it. And on the same day that the contentious DADT is officially scrubbed from the books -- September 20 -- the periodical will become available, free of charge, at select Army and Air Force bases.
On the group's web site, OutServe claims that it is a relatively large association of LGBT military personnel. The organization claims to have 3,300 members in 42 chapters across the globe, providing the following description of its core purpose:
OutServe works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Listen to the magazine's editor discuss the project on The Stephanie Miller Show:
While OutServe is just making its way onto select bases, it has already published two editions. In the new September 2011 issue, the magazine will feature a photo spread of nearly 100 people who are either members of OutServe or who are currently active duty. The significance behind their inclusion in this photo spread is that it will be the first time they have made their sexuality known among military ranks.
In addition to images, stories and the like, the magazine will feature a regular advice column called "Ask Sarge." Readers will be able to ask a mental health technician and addiction expert questions and receive responses related to their LGBT inquiries. Below, read an introduction by the individual who is behind penning this column:
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. I have served in the United States Air Force as a Mental Health Technician for the past four years, and I have worked as a substance abuse counselor for the better part of the last two years. Recently, I was forward-deployed to Afghanistan where I operated a Combat Stress Clinic. Experience has shown me that most of the people who come into a Mental Health or Combat Stress Clinic do not suffer from a mental disorder, but simply need to be reminded about the basic fundamentals of life, like problems sleeping, communication issues, and adjusting to the military lifestyle. There are many other unique problems out there, and I would like the opportunity to help solve some of them.
In a release published on OutServe's web site, JD Smith, a co-director at the organization (he goes by a pseudonym until DADT is officially overturned), said:
“This marks an incredible time in the history of our military. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers once had to conceal their true identities. By featuring their pictures and their stories, we are signaling that time has passed. It is time for these military members to be honored for their extraordinary commitment and sacrifice in defense of our country."
While some individuals behind both the organization and the magazine have been somewhat secretive about who they are, once DADT is overturned, these individuals will no longer feel the need to "hide." The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe explains:
Once the nearly two-decade-old ban ends, gay men and women serving in military uniform will be able to reveal their sexual identity without fear of dismissal or official rebuke, openly gay men and women will be able to enlist in the military, and gay couples may be allowed to wed at military chapels or live together on military bases in states that recognize same-sex marriages.
This magazine will surely serve as a comfort to individuals who have anxiously awaited an end to DADT. But opponents are likely to feel that it's presence on bases so soon after the official overturning of the military policy is a move that simply adds insult to injury. Either way, the magazine is set to make its way onto select bases next month.
(h/t Fox News)