Magazine for Gay Troops Slated for Arrival on Bases

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday August 31, 2011

A new magazine for gay servicemembers have won approval from the military and will be available at Air Force and Army bases starting Sept. 20 -- the day the longstanding anti-gay law "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is finally repealed, reported Star and Stripes on Aug. 30.

The new magazine is published by OutServe, an organization catering to gay and lesbian servicememembers who, until now, have had to remain in the shadows and lie about their sexual orientation.

The first post-DADT issue will profile 100 gay and lesbian uniformed patriots, marking the official "coming out" of America's homosexual members of the Armed Forces.

"The bi-monthly OutServe Magazine highlights the contributions that actively serving LGBTs are making to the United States military, discusses and educates readers about DADT repeal policies, and advocates for the continued fight for equality for all Americans," text at the OutServe website says.

"Our first electronic-only issue of the magazine that was distributed in March to our network members, as well as released to the press, had over 10,000 impressions within the first 48 hours and was met with an overwhelming show of support from the public, the Department of Defense, and the Obama administration."

DADT, passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton, allowed gays and lesbians to serve, but only as long as they hid the truth of their sexual identities. Disclosure did not have to be voluntary: Gay and lesbian troops whose sexuality was discovered by snooping fellow servicemembers were also subject to separation from the military.

Three-quarters of the American public approved of repealing the law before Congress finally voted last December to strike the law. Some still clung to flamboyant stereotypes and warned that allowing openly gay troops to remain in the military's ranks would lead to sexual misconduct, disciplinary and moral problems, and difficulty retaining and enlisting servicemembers.

Similar warnings circulated in Britain before the UK set aside its own anti-gay military service ban, but when the ban was retired in 2000 no upheaval took place. Nor did problems arise when other nations allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly. The United States is the last nation among its own Western allies to set aside a ban on openly gay servicemembers.

"The September issue is the third edition of the magazine, launched last spring," the Stars and Stripes article said. "So far print copies have been made available at select military locations, such as public meeting areas and physicians offices.

"Officials with OutServe wouldn't reveal which bases would be the first to receive the September issues."

Some of those profiled in the print edition are also profiled online at the Outserve website.

"OutServe is a non-profit organization, with a network of over 40 chapters of 4,000+ actively serving Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgendered military professionals who come from all Services and are stationed around the world," text at the organization's site says.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.