President Joe Biden on Monday recognized the 10-year anniversary of the end of "don't ask, don't tell," a policy that forced gay and lesbian military service members to hide their sexuality.
Though an estimated 13,000 service members were discharged under "don't ask, don't tell," the total number of service members discharged due to their sexual orientation or gender identity is estimated to be much higher: More than 100,000 are thought to have been forced out between World War II, when the U.S. first explicitly banned gay service members, and 2011, when "don't ask, don't tell" officially ended.
Senator, I supported allowing servicemembers to serve openly, and as Vice President, I was proud to champion the repeal of this policy and to stand beside President Obama as he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act into law," the president said in Monday's statement.
Biden added that he is honored to be commander in chief of the "most inclusive military in our nation's history," which he said welcomes LGBTQ service members.
Biden appointed Pete Buttigieg — who served as a Navy Reserve lieutenant in Afghanistan under "don't ask, don't tell" — as transportation secretary, making him the first openly gay Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate.
Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Biden, servicemembers, Obama, Don’t, Gina Ortiz Jones, Shawn Skelly, Pete Buttigieg —
Monday, Associated Press, White, U.S ., Trump, Air Force, Navy Reserve, Senate, NBC, Twitter, Facebook
America, U.S, Afghanistan