After a brief introduction by Congressmen Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Secretary Fanning discussed the extraordinary strides towards equality the Obama administration has made for our service men and women over the last 8 years. Secretary Fanning became the highest-ranking LGBT Pentagon official in history, following his appointment by President Obama.
“The more we can do to put more diverse voices at the table the faster change can happen, ” Fanning said.
President Obama signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act and became a champion for LGBT rights within military branches. Led by Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, the ban on transgender individuals serving openly in the military was also lifted.
“When you look at the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the ability of women to serve at all levels and in all places, and the religious accommodations we have made—the military has dropped the arbitrary qualifiers and defined what it takes to do a job.” Fanning continued saying, “if you can do your job, and do it well, that’s what matters.”
Secretary Fanning’s remarks were part of the larger three-day Victory Institute International LGBT Leaders Conference – which will bring together more than 500 LGBT elected officials, appointees and leaders determined to continue progress on LGBT equality.
The International LGBT Leaders Conference takes place in Washington, DC through Saturday, Dec. 10. For a complete agenda and speakers, visit www.lgbtleaders.org.