Friday, September 14, 2012

Celebrity Friday: Tammy Smith, Lesbian General

Tammy Smith is the first openly gay person to be promoted to the level of general in the United States Armed Forces. She came out when she was promoted to the rank of  Army brigadier-general. Thanks to the Obama administration's successful implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" the risk to career officers in the military has been significantly reduced (though probably not disappeared entirely).

Stars and Stripes reports:
Stars and Stripes interviewed Smith last summer before the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal was finalized. Speaking under a pseudonym, she said she had no plans to come out to her colleagues, but was looking forward to the relief of knowing that her career wouldn’t be threatened if she was found out.
“Finally my partner and I will be able to go out and have drinks together without worrying,” she said then.
A year later, Smith, 49, said she is still more focused on the work ahead than the significance of her personal life. But her wife, Tracey Hepner, said the last year has been a dramatic transformation for both of them.
“The support we’ve received has been amazing,” she said. “I wasn’t surprised that people were so accepting, but in some cases it has been even celebratory. It’s like nothing has really changed for us, and yet everything has changed.”
That's change that I can believe in!

Of course, even Stars and Stripes acknowledges that Smith is not the only gay or lesbian general in the U.S. military, just the only one that has publicly come out so far. Hopefully others will follow her trailblazing path.

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