Military Promotion Brings First Openly Gay General Officer


Tammy Smith, previously an army colonel, was promoted to brigadier general on Friday and at the same time publicly acknowledged that she is in a same-sex relationship, making her the first general officer to come out while serving.

Reports Stars and Stripes:

What she glosses over is that along with the promotion she is also publicly acknowledging her sexuality for the first time, making her the first general officer to come out as gay while still serving. It comes less than a year after the end of the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.

“All of those facts are irrelevant,” she said. “I don’t think I need to be focused on that. What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”

But Smith’s pinning ceremony on Friday marks an important milestone for gay rights advocates, giving the movement its most senior public military figure. She has already been assigned as deputy chief at the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve, and spent much of 2011 serving in Afghanistan.

Stars and Stripes also reveals that, prior to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal going into force last year, Smith, 49, had spoken anonymously on how she did not anticipate coming out to her fellow servicemembers but that she did look forward to being able to go out with her wife without threat of a military investigation or discharge.

Smith’s wife Tracey Hepner has called the support shown for troops in same-sex relationships “amazing.” Hepner is a co-founder of the Military Partners and Families Coalition and so has been placed to watch the evolution in public and official military opinion surrounding gay and lesbian servicemembers.

Smith is not the first gay general officer, but Friday’s ceremony creates a quiet milestone as she is the first to be able to serve while being open about her sexuality.


Related Reading:

Lawmaker Aims to Resurrect DADT in Oklahoma
Gay Soldier Comes Out to Dad to Mark DADT’s End (VIDEO)
Groups Advise Trans Servicemembers Ahead of DADT Repeal

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to the US Army Photostream.


Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Have read that things are going smoothly for her! Now we need to get these families the health care and other rights that "straight" military families have access to. They deserve nothing less!

Dale Overall

Interestingly enough, the largest Protestant church in Canada, the United Church elected Rev. Dr. Gary Paterson as its Moderator. He is the first openly gay leader of a major Christian denomination. He has been in the ministry for over 35 years. He is also married to a man.
He became Moderator of The United Church of Canada by the 41st General Council on August 16, 2012 after being elected. Interesting.

Wendy Schroeder
Wendy S5 years ago

Cool! I'm happy for her.

Dale Overall

"Send a Green Star to Kevin B

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Kevin because you have done so within the last week."

Well said Kevin, others including me flagged this individual but I didn't know it/she/him had more than one profile! Sadly Trolls replicate/regenerate themselves and no doubt it will return shortly metamorphosed into yet another slimy form...but not beautiful like a butterfly.

Sadly it can take time to get a nasty member turfed as Care2 has limited staff to deal with a multitude of bad members, technical issues and ever annoying spammers but it is good to see when they are given the heave ho. There was a hateful individual on a pet site calling for the elimination of all of a certain type of pet and advocated such violence and hatred to a certain animal that he was also removed.

Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown5 years ago

The person has obviously been removed from Care2 and needed to be. I personally reported her/him (and all three screen names they were using) multiple times.

I am all for high-spirited and robust discussion, but that was just a hate-spewing troll and we cannot allow those kind of people to gain a foothold here.

Thanks to everyone that help get that hateful, disgusting troll booted!

change twentytwelve

I read your post: still don't have the integrity to do so by name. Expect no further responding posts; I would not use my name either, if I talked the talk, then chose to sit on the porch instead of running with the big "DOGS". Finished, No Mas, Kiss mon ---, I'm done with you.

Bernd Friedel-Onasch

Dale O.
A confused intolerant soul...he/she doesn't even think this caprice of nature could have happened to him/her.

Dale Overall

Yes, comments gone, no doubt deleted by Care2...the profile stated the person was female despite the male photo. Have no idea as to the nationality of the person, just another very extreme bigot and good riddance to she, she or it.

change twentytwelve

He is what he is, a pitiful hate-filled AS'er(attention seeker), and I don't think the German people would be happy to receive this "wannabe" trash in their Country. They have a history with this mentality, and the Majority, don't want any part of that ever again. He wishes he was a German skinhead, but he lacks the backbone even for those so twisted.

change twentytwelve

con't- seed. There republicans and democrats on this site and we often don't agree, but by far the majority are here because the do care, and this is a really cool way to help a broad spectrum of humanity, in the way you choose too. So be off, because even if those monitoring fail to do so, then think of yourself as Frankenstein, and many of us will be the mob. You offer nothing but hate, you insult members across the board, you don't know about the points, click to donate etc. So, stay off or you'll be/are Frankenstein. Now for a shower to wash all traces of you, & your hateful, bigoted slime.