Less than a year after the long-awaited repeal of the United State’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy – which prohibited openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the US military, a woman has become the first openly lesbian Brigadier General. Tammy Smith’s promotion was reported by the publication Stars and Stripes, and took place in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on 10 August. Smith’s wife, Tracey Hepner, was part of the official party, and – alongside Smith’s father, Jack – participated in the traditional pining ceremony – helping affix the relevant star insignia to the shoulder of Smith’s uniform.
“I am just so pleased that my family could participate in this ceremony today,” Smith said, in acknowledgement of her historic promotion.
Since the repeal of DADT last September, the US military has constantly reached out to its lesbian and gay personnel, with men and women recently participating in uniform at San Diego Pride.
This promotion surely marks a significant turning point for the US military, and for their public perception. It is a testament to how much has changed in the last 12 months when Miss Tracey Hepner was announced Tammy Smith’s partner the only sound to come from the audience was loud applause.