July 2nd, 2015 15:30 EST
Defense Secretary's Chief of Staff Praises Department's LGBT Support
DIA Public Affairs
Eric Fanning, Defense Secretary Ash Carter`s chief of staff, spoke to Defense Intelligence Agency employees June 24 about the immense changes he`s seen in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender environment at the Defense Department over the past 20 years.
Visiting as a part of DIA`s Pride Month observance, Fanning addressed the differences between the environment in place when he came out and in today`s Defense Department as well as on the importance of being out " at work and the impact that has on culture.
When Fanning came out in 1993, he said he felt like the only gay man in the 25,000-person building. He said he knew there were others, but if you were in uniform, you couldn`t expose yourself as gay because you`d be discharged, and there were no other openly gay political appointees.
A Community of Support
While acknowledging there are challenges, Fanning said there is a much larger community out there that is looking for opportunities to show its support of us -- that`s certainly been my experience as I`ve come out in my professional network, and it`s picking up steam, " Fanning said. It`s gone from tolerance to acceptance to embrace.
Today, there is a caucus there, and now there is support for all of us, " he said. We have this community of support whenever we try to do anything or put ourselves forward. "
Fanning also noted how Pride Month celebrations within DoD have evolved as well.
To walk through your lobby here and to see the displays you`ve put up and to see how it`s being embraced and celebrated is truly a remarkable experience for me, " Fanning said.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia