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Pentagon Officials Fear Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Could Impact Military Readiness

Pentagon Officials Fear Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Could Impact Military Readiness

<p>Pentagon Officials Fear Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws Could Impact Military Readiness</p>

The attacks on the LGBTQ+ community has dire consequences across American society.

Officials at the Pentagon warned on Wednesday that states’ policies affecting LGBTQ+ people are potentially damaging to the military.

At an event at the Pentagon celebrating Pride Month, Space Force Chief Operating Officer Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt emphasized that over 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced since January in various states.

“That number is rising and demonstrates a trend that could be dangerous for service members, their families, and the readiness of the force as a whole,” Burt pointed out, according toThe Hill.

Undersecretary of the Pentagon for Personnel and Readiness Gil Cisneros said, “LGBT+ and other diverse communities are under attack, just because they are different. Hate for hate’s sake.”

Cisneros, the department’s chief diversity officer, said military members must stick together and prepare for challenges directly.

GOP-controlled state legislatures passed several laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community in the past year, including restrictions on health care for transgender youth, bans on discussions of gender and sexuality in schools, and bans on drag shows.

Moreover, Republican lawmakers have strongly criticized Pentagon policies that aim to eliminate extremist ideologies and promote diversity. Some have said that such efforts distract military readiness and hinder recruitment and retention.

Taking note of these criticisms, Pentagon officials banned drag performances on military installations last month. Pentagon critics point out that the Pentagon has bowed to GOP pressure to cancel such performances due to a DOD policy that has not been adhered to in the past, The Hill reports.

Additionally, Assistant Air Force Secretary for Readiness and Reserve Affairs Alex Wagner recently expressed concern that families might have to move from bases because their LGBTQ+ children suffer bullying and harassment at school.

It’s that issue, not “wokeness,” which is “distracting from their mission, that’s detracting from our readiness,” Wagner said during the annual National Security Conference of the Center for a New American Security.

“If service members are thinking and concerned about the experience their kids are having, they’re not going to be focused on their jobs. They’re not gonna be focused on their mission,” Wagner explained.

Defense officials did not mention the recently enforced drag ban at Wednesday’s Pentagon pride event but stressed that the rapid growth of anti-LGBTQ+ policies across the United States is detrimental to service members.

New state laws could impact hiring for positions in the Space Force, Burt observed.

“If a good match for a job does not feel safe being themselves and performing at their highest potential at a given location, or if their family could be denied critical health care due to the laws in that state,” she argued.

In such a scenario, “I am compelled to consider a different candidate and perhaps less qualified,” Burt explained.

“Those barriers are a threat to our readiness, and they have a direct correlation to the resiliency and well-being of our most important operational advantage: our people,” she added.

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