BRIAN WITTE | Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A support group for gay military service members launched an online magazine to provide information about pending repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and printed copies could be on large bases by May, the group’s co-director said Monday.
An active-duty Air Force officer who is the co-director of OutServe said the magazine of the same name seeks to raise awareness that the change is coming. He uses the pseudonym JD Smith because he is gay and has lingering concerns about whether he could be discharged before the policy is fully implemented.
“The magazine helps set the tone, the idea, that it’s actually going to happen and normalizes it,” he told The Associated Press on Monday. “The more we normalize it, the more accepted it becomes.”
The free magazine will be published bi-monthly. OutServe has about 3,000 members, and the group plans to distribute copies in places like hospital waiting rooms and on stands at community centers on military bases where other publications are available.
Military officials did not respond to an email seeking comment Monday.
The magazine also will include articles about different OutServe chapters and information of interest to gay military members. Smith said group members believe the visual presence of a magazine will highlight that gays already serve proudly in the military.
The first electronic issue includes an article on a meeting between representatives in the group and the Pentagon Repeal Implementation Team. The article pointed out that the services plan to complete training at various points this summer relating to the policy’s repeal. The article also said team representatives could not give an expected repeal date because the decision is being based on training completion and how well unit commanders believe units are prepared.
The electronic edition also includes information about different gay support groups in the military, such as the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which provides free legal advice to service members affected by the policy.
President Barack Obama signed a law in December to repeal the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which requires soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to keep their homosexuality a secret or face dismissal. Final repeal implementation does not go into effect until 60 days after the president, defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that lifting the ban won’t hurt the military’s ability to fight.