Tammy Smith Hailed as the Military’s First Openly Gay General

by Diana Denza

It’s no big secret that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” resulted in the discharge of thousands of LGBTQ service-members since its inception.  But now, nearly one year after the discriminatory law was repealed, lesbian army reserve officer, Tammy Smith, is being celebrated as the first openly gay brigadier general.

According to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, the dedicated military official served in Afghanistan and acted as deputy chief for the Office of the Chief at the Army Reserve. In addition to her impressive career, the 49-year-old is happily married to wife Tracey Hepner.

“The support we’ve received has been amazing,” Smith told Stars and Stripes. “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.”

Sadly, however, it seems that the mere mention of Smith’s sexuality has invited a slew of homophobic comments. Hiding behind a veil of anonymity, those good, educated- let’s not forget tolerant- people on the Internet have been calling the military a “haven for homosexuals” and a “laughing stock” simply for promoting a lesbian service-member.

I’d love to tell you more, but my eyes are burning already (partly from the lack of proper spelling and grammar that these dissenters so adamantly utilize, but mostly from the blatant disrespect for a woman who regularly puts her life on the line for us and for her country). Oh, what I would give to see the look on their faces 20 years from now.  

Not that the naysayers can do much to bring Smith down, of course. She explained to Stars and Stripes, “What is relevant is upholding Army values and the responsibility this carries.”

We salute you, Brigadier General Smith!

Image courtesy of Stars and Stripes  

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