In many countries, identifying with the LGBT community itself is a crime, and even in countries where homosexuality is not a crime, members of the LGBT community are still often barred from serving in the military. In the United States, it wasn’t until 1993 that LGBTs were allowed to serve under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. Even under DADT, LGBT service members could still face involuntary discharge for "homosexual conduct,” such as having sexual relations with the same sex or telling other people about their sexual orientation before the Obama administration ended DADT and effectively lifted the U.S. military ban on LGBT service members. To understand more about LGBT in the forward deployed military, YCAPS invited four members from the Yokosuka naval base to talk about their experience as LGBT in the forward deployed military: Captain Rich Jarrett, Commander Allison Christy and her spouse, Lieutenant Commander Nicole Lobecker, and Ms. Lorelei McKelvey. The webinar had over 70 attendees and was moderated by YCAPS’ Treasurer, William Yale, who provided a brief history of LGBT in the US military after a short introduction given by the co-sponsor, Fruits in Suits Japan. The lively and interactive Q&A session reaffirmed the interest and need to continually address this topic in the future.
ーBy Alex Chou from Waseda University