The Department of Defense (DOD) wrapped up Pride Month celebrations claiming coming out saved a transgender Army officer’s life and commemorating a “mother figure to the drag queens” and “trans women.”
DOD’s personnel and readiness chief declared the Pride Month 2023 theme as “Equality Without Exception” on May 31, kicking off what became more than a month of social media spotlights, pride parades and reading activities — including those aimed at young children — intended to “recognize and value the contributions of the DoD civilian employees and Service members in the LGBTQI+ community who serve our country,” according to a memo. On Sunday, July 2, the Pentagon doubled down on Pride month themes in a social media post about a transgender officer who allegedly overcame suicidal tendencies after coming out as transgender.
“Maj. Rachel Jones found solace after coming out as a transgender female. Her journey from battling depression & suicidal thoughts to embracing authenticity inspires us all,” DOD tweeted with a link to the original U.S. Army news article and the hashtag #WhyWeServe. (RELATED: Army’s Top Enlisted Leader Engaged In Hours-Long Twitter Battle Over Pride Post)
“In a world where LGBTQ+ voices were often marginalized, she battled depression and contemplated suicide. Today, her resilience shines as a hope for others facing similar struggles,” the account added.
The story, published June 22, included a photo of Jones sitting behind a desk with a plaque reading, “My pronouns are she/her. What are yours?”
Transgender people in service who have “concealed their true selves” are twice as likely to suffer depression, PTSD and suicidal ideation than their non-LGBTQ peerz, Stephanie Allers, a program specialist and suicide prevention liaison for Army human resources, explained, according to the Army. However, other experts and evidence suggests that, at least among youths, LGBTQ suicide statistics may be exaggerated and even encourage people to take their own lives.
“Today, she is living her truth and is no longer battling depression or suicidal thoughts” after nearly committing suicide before the repeal of the Army’s open transgender service ban, the Army wrote.
Jones, an information management professional for U.S. Army Sustainment Command’s cyber division, was also featured in an Instagram video where the officer explained the belief that LGBTQ+ people bring a “diverse” set of ideas and skills to the Army.
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DOD also staged Pride-related events and social media campaigns aimed at military families.
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA), which operates schools for U.S. military children across the globe, on June 30 highlighted Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender activist who “served as a mother figure to the drag queens, trans women, and homeless youth” in New York City.
DODEA videos and social media posts throughout the month of June featured school teachers and administrators who allegedly “strengthen the DoDEA mission by fostering an open, safe and inclusive environment.”
“Staff and students are proud allies and representatives of the LGBTQ+ community,” DODEA wrote in a social media post alongside what appears to be a photo of four employees at Ramstein Middle School, serving the largest U.S. military community outside of the U.S. One seems to be dressed in drag, and Pride flags are draped on the wall in the background.
“As June ends, we say goodbye to Pride Month—a celebration of love, acceptance, and equality. Let’s carry its spirit forward, embracing diversity, spreading compassion, and building a thriving world. Love is love, and together, we make a difference,” DOD Civilian Careers wrote in a social media post.
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