Obama Is Going to Nominate the First Openly Gay Leader of the U.S. Army

We've come a long way: President Barack Obama is set to nominate the first openly gay secretary of the Army.

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President Obama will soon announce the nomination of Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army, which would make him the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch, assuming he's confirmed by the Senate.

We've come a long way considering that only four years ago the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy was still in place and openly gay people were straight-up banned from serving. That policy wouldn't have applied to the Secretary of the Army anyway, since they're technically a civilian, but symbolically this is still huge. 

The Washington Post broke the news that Fanning would be Obama's choice to lead the Army, placing him directly under Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, for whom he has served as a close adviser. Fanning has also previously served as the Air Force under secretary and deputy under secretary of the Navy.

His nomination continues the Obama administration's trend toward building a more inclusive and tolerant military that started with ending the ban on gay servicemembers in 2011. 

According to the New York Times

While the Pentagon lifted a prohibition on openly gay service members in 2011, it continues to struggle with a culture in which such members say they feel uncomfortable... But gay and straight service members say that ending the legal barriers has not erased all the cultural barriers. Some gay service members say they still experience harassment and discrimination.


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