Gays in the military will soon have their very own magazine! Even with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, we can only imagine how isolated gays must feel. It’s surely still impossible to serve openly, and having a support network would allow these women and men to lead successful lives both professionally and personally. The idea of a magazine dedicated to this group of servicemembers is something that we think is a long time in coming.
Out Serve, an organization of over 2,900 active military personnel, will be releasing the magazine online, and will soon make print copies available at selected military installations.
The co-founder of OutServe is an active-duty officer who uses the pseudonym JD Smith, demonstrating just how far LGBT personnel still have to go for acceptance in the military. He says:
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. And we also want to communicate to all troops that there are capable gay military members serving honorably, and that accepting that and moving on will make our military stronger. Our goal is to have our next version available in print, at some of the larger military bases. Visibility is key. We are not about highlighting our differences, but demonstrating how LGBT troops are proud soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coasties, and Marines just like everyone else.
The first edition has information about the implementation of DADT Repeal, as well as the incredible work of photographer Jeff Sheng who traveled extensively documenting DADT throughout 2009. There is also the completely heart-breaking story of Petty Officer Third Class Allen Schindler, who was savagely beaten to death in a bathroom by two of his homophobic shipmates in 1992, after becoming increasingly harassed about his sexual identity. The severity of Allen’s injuries – similar to that of a high-speed collision – made national headlines and finally brought the impact of discrimination in the military to national attention. This case was actually the genesis for DADT, however, because Congress resisted the call to allow gays to openly serve.
Watch this wonderful video Jeff Sheng’s project about closeted gay servicemembers :