‘Threat To Our Readiness’: Space Force Lieutenant General Rails Against ‘Anti-LGBTQ+’ Laws In Red States


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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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A top Space Force official condemned state laws banning sex changes and gender education, primarily introduced and passed in Republican-governed states, claiming that they are a threat to military readiness during a Department of Defense (DOD) Pride event on Tuesday.

The more than 400 laws introduced at the state level in 2023, including bans on gender transition treatments, pose a “danger” to LGBTQ+ servicemembers, Space Force Chief Operations Officer Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt claimed. Because of those laws, Burt said she tries to station Space Force leaders where state policies accommodate their sexual and gender identities even if they are better qualified for an alternative assignment elsewhere.

Burt said she does not want to place officers where they do “not feel safe being themselves or if their family could be denied critical healthcare… those barriers are a threat to our readiness.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Here’s How Many Pride Events The Air Force Held In 2022, According To A Just-Launched DEI Newsletter)

The number Burt cited might refer to research from the American Civil Liberties Union identifying a record 417 new state bills introduced in 2023 that the organization perceives to be harmful to LGBTQ+ individuals. A majority of the bills focus on education and medical care, according to the ACLU, such as a Florida law banning classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in K-8 classrooms, as well as a Texas law signed on Friday outlawing surgeries, puberty blockers and hormone therapies for minors, Reuters reported.

Advocates of the education laws say they promote parental rights, transparency and age appropriate material for children, while laws related to medical procedures protect minors from the harmful effects caused by gender transitions.

“That number is rising,” Burt said, referring to the states’ legislation, and “demonstrates a trend that could be dangerous for service members, their families & the readiness of the force as a whole.”

LGBTQ+ servicemembers have a long history of service in the U.S. military and in the Space Force, Burt claimed. “The guardian spirit says nothing about which bathroom they use,” she said.

For example, Burt highlighted Air Force Technical Sgt. Sabrina Bruce who transitioned from male to female and was allowed to serve as the “correct” gender despite former President Donald Trump’s ban on new transgender servicemembers.

“We are potentially alienating 20% of the key demographic we are recruiting for,” Burt said. DOD should consider setting up task forces for LGBTQ+ servicemembers across the department, just as the Air Force has done, she added.

Our LGBTQ plus and other diverse communities are under attack, just because they are different. Hate for hate’s sake,” Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros said at the Pride event prior to Burt’s remarks. “But we must stick together, and we must be prepared to confront any such challenge directly.”

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