Connect with us

U.S. Military/Pentagon

Signature block pronouns ok’d for Air Force- no set policy other branches

“The change request was driven by awareness of a restrictive policy that was being used against transgender Airmen and Guardians”

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade graphic

ARLINGTON, Va. – In a December 2021 update to the Department of the Air Force writing guide, The Tongue and Quill, now allows Airmen and Guardians to include pronouns in their signature block.

The Tongue and Quill provides formatting standards and guidelines for a number of official documents, including email, memoranda, letters and papers.

“An inclusive force is a mission-ready force, and I’m thankful to the LGBTQ Initiatives Team for helping us realize this opportunity to be a more inclusive force,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones.

The LGBTQ Initiatives Team, or LIT, a part of the Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Group, advocated for this change, one of the latest initiatives the DAF undertook to address barriers to service and promote a more inclusive culture.

“The change request was driven by awareness of a restrictive policy that was being used against transgender Airmen and Guardians who were authentically representing themselves,” said Lt. Col. Bree Fram, a LIT Transgender Policy Team co-lead. “It was also important for many individuals often confused as being a different gender in their communications.”

This effort was led by the LIT, with support from the Pacific Islander/Asian American Community Team, and the Women’s Initiatives Team.

Master Sgt. Jamie Hash, the other LIT Transgender Policy Team co-lead, also explained that the explicit permission to use pronouns, a practice that is now common in the civilian sector, gets the DAF further down the road of explicitly acknowledging the existence and dignity of non-binary military members and civilians. She added that this change eliminates confusion for people with non-Anglo/Western or gender-neutral names.

“The LIT provided an opportunity to streamline the process for this change,” Hash said, explaining that this change was a request she started from her installation’s Diversity and Inclusion committee. “It is an example of how the teams are addressing barriers, collaborating, and executing solutions in ways that have not been seen before to help Airmen and Guardians thrive.”

Official signature blocks should include name, rank, service affiliation, duty title, organization name, phone numbers and social media contact information. Pronouns such as he/him, she/her, or they/them are now authorized but not required. An example is:

ANGEL ALONSO, Capt, USAF (he/him/his)
Occupational Therapy Element Leader
48th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron
RAF Lakenheath, UK
DSN: 555-1212

Pronouns can be placed immediately after the name in parentheses or on separate lines within the signature block.

“A foundational competency of the DAF is to foster inclusion,” Fram said. “The use of correct pronouns is an easy way to show care and respect for Airmen and Guardians as individuals, and can help the DAF retain highly qualified individuals. Allowing pronouns in an individual’s signature block is a quick and simple way to eliminate confusion and promote a more inclusive culture.”

The Military Times reports that the Army is weighing its options while the Navy and Marine Corps have not at this time determined that a pronoun usage policy is necessary.

“Currently, the use of pronouns is the service member’s choice to include or not,” Neal Fisher, deputy director of public affairs for the Chief of Naval Personnel, told Military Times. “The Navy does not have a standing policy on email signature lines that address the use of personal pronouns, [and it] has not mandated, encouraged, discouraged nor considered the use of pronouns in signature blocks.”

As for the Marine Corps, it will follow the Navy’s lead. Marines and sailors alike are allowed to include in their signature block what they believe is necessary to ensure clear and effective digital communication, according to Capt. Ryan Bruce, a media operations officer with the HQMC Communication Directorate.

“The Marine Corps does not have a specific policy dictating what can or cannot be included in an email signature block,” Bruce noted. “The Naval Correspondence Manual describes several complimentary email closings, but generally defers to following customs and courtesies.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

U.S. Military/Pentagon

First woman to lead a branch of the military confirmed by Senate

While women have served as service branch secretaries- Fagan would be the first servicewoman to serve as the leader of a military branch

Published

on

Vice Adm. Linda L. Fagan is promoted to the rank of admiral during a ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters, June 18, 2021. Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first woman to serve as a four-star admiral. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ltjg. Pamela Manns).

WASHINGTON – The Senate has confirmed Admiral Linda L. Fagan as the 27th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. The current Commandant Admiral Karl L. Schultz is set to retire at the end of this month. President Joe Biden nominated Fagan to lead the service, a military branch that operates within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in peacetime this past month.

Fagan, promoted to the rank of four-star Admiral in June of 2021, is the Coast Guard’s first woman to serve as a four-star flag officer and currently serves as the service’s Vice-Commandant.

Task & Purpose magazine noted that while women have served as service branch secretaries — Christine Wormuth is the current Secretary of the Army — Fagan would be the first servicewoman to serve as the leader of a military branch. 

In a statement issued Thursday,  President Biden congratulated her.

“It is with deep pride that I congratulate Admiral Linda L. Fagan on her confirmation by the Senate as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first woman to hold the rank of four-star admiral. Today, she again makes history not only as the first woman to lead the Coast Guard—but also as the first woman Service Chief of any U.S. military service. Admiral Fagan’s leadership, experience, and integrity are second to none, and I know she will advance the Coast Guard’s mission to ensure our nation’s maritime safety and security. 

My administration is committed to seeing more qualified women in senior leadership and command roles; making sure women can succeed and thrive throughout their military careers. Today, Admiral Fagan’s confirmation as Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard signals to women and girls across our nation they have a place in protecting their country at the highest level.”

The admiral is a1985 graduate of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and over the course of career spanning 36 years she has served on seven continents, the Coast Guard’s New York Sector, Commander First Coast Guard District in Boston, Coast Guard Defense Force West, Coast Guard Pacific Area, as well as stints as the service’s headquarters in Washington D.C. apart from her post as Vice-Commandant and duty at sea aboard the only heavy icebreaker in the Coast Guard’s inventory, the USCG Cutter Polar Star.

Task & Purpose also reported;

It wouldn’t be the first milestone for Fagan to achieve in the Coast Guard. When she was promoted to vice commandant in 2021, she became the first-ever four-star admiral in the branch. In an interview with “CBS This Morning” that year, she described nearly being pulled from her first sea deployment, as the ship’s executive officer was hesitant to have her aboard as the only woman in the crew. 

She also noted her commitment to helping the Coast Guard continue to recruit and retain women, including her own daughter, in its ranks. “We’ve made a lot of progress in the junior ranks, we need to keep making progress,” she said.

Continue Reading

U.S. Military/Pentagon

SPARTA announces legislative agenda & re-elects Bree Fram as president

“SPARTA calls on Congress to update the ‘Truman Amendment’ to enshrine into law the opportunity for trans & intersex individuals to serve ” 

Published

on

Bree Fram, LTC USSF/Facebook

ARLINGTON, Va. – SPARTA, the nation’s leading transgender military service  organization, announced its legislative priorities for 2022 on Monday. SPARTA and other advocacy  organizations have long sought the codification of the opportunity to serve in the military  regardless of gender identity or any other category that doesn’t have any bearing on an  individual’s ability to serve.

In one of his first statements as Secretary of Defense on Jan 25th, 2021 Lloyd Austin made the same point that “all transgender individuals who wish to serve in  the United States military and can meet the appropriate standards shall be able to do so openly and free from discrimination.” 

Despite the position of the current Biden administration, without Congressional legislative changes, a future president could reinstate discriminatory policies with an executive order and turn back the clock on transgender service.

A spokesperson for the advocacy group noted that it believes legislative action is required to ensure this nation will be able to attract and retain the best and brightest who are willing to serve. The spokesperson also said that “SPARTA calls upon  Congress to pass an updated version of the ‘Truman Amendment’ that would enshrine into law the opportunity to serve for transgender and intersex individuals.” 

“We believe this year is the best opportunity that we’ll have for quite some time to make  meaningful change,” said SPARTA’s Acting Communications Director Alleria Stanley, a US  Army Staff Sergeant. “Not only do we have the renewed examples of so many transgender  troops serving honorably and openly, but we also believe we have the support necessary in  congress to ensure it stays that way.” 

In order to make the case, SPARTA will be bringing approximately thirty transgender service  members to Capitol Hill to speak with legislators on June 8th. “I’m looking forward to speaking  with my representatives, because I want to emulate the example of the first, but not the last  transgender service member,” said Melody Stachour, SPARTA’s Community Relations Director  and a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy Reserve. “Thanks to nearly six years of open transgender  service, we’ve seen the military grow stronger and more inclusive and I’m excited to help  Congress understand how that’s become a reality for service members everywhere.”

Stachour also noted that SPARTA believes the examples of their service will be a powerful indicator of the value that transgender  troops bring to their units and the military at large.

SPARTA’s Board of Directors unanimously reelected Bree Fram, a United States Space Force Lieutenant Colonel, to a second term as President and Board Chair. Bree’s primary focus for the year will be SPARTA’s efforts to pursue legislative change that guarantees the opportunity for transgender people to serve. 

Her other priorities remain opening the door to inclusive non-binary service policy, streamlining access to care for transgender service members, and reducing the administrative burden on troops and their commanders in relation to gender transition. She’s also excited about continuing the work that has been done in the past year to normalize transgender policy within the Department of  Defense and the inclusion of transgender service members in developing that policy. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled than to continue working with the amazing SPARTA team on  ensuring an inclusive military that allows every individual and every team to reach their full  potential,” said Fram. “I’m confident that the work we are doing is developing a stronger military;  one that soon will be hard to think of without considering the contributions of transgender  service members as invaluable.” 

Fram has also recently been honored by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) as their 2021  Volunteer of the Year primarily for the work she’s done supporting transgender service  members through SPARTA and the DAF’s LGBTQ+ Initiatives Team. Fram was also named  “2021 LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year” by Out to Innovate. Out to Innovate recognizes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer professionals in science, technology, engineering, and  math (STEM). 

From Out to Innovate’s announcement: 

“The LGBTQ+ Engineer of the Year Award recognizes someone who has made outstanding  contributions to their field and recognizes the awardee for sustained contributions in design,  production, management, or research. Lt. Col. Bree Fram has been an active service member  since 2003 and is currently in the United States Space Force. Fram is currently responsible for  developing the policies used by the Space Force to develop, build, test, and deliver critical joint  warfighting capabilities as the Deputy Division Chief for Acquisition Policies and Processes  supporting the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Space Acquisition and Integration.”

Continue Reading

U.S. Military/Pentagon

U.S. Air Force moves to protect LGBTQ+ personnel & dependents

“The health, care & resilience of our personnel & families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to accomplish the mission”

Published

on

Graphic via the Department of the Air Force/DoD

ARLINGTON, Va. – Last month the Under Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Gina Ortiz Jones, announced that the service was refocusing efforts to assist its LGBTQ+ servicemembers. These actions follow in the wake of over 320 anti-LGBTQ+ bills are already pending in state legislatures.

Lawmakers in statehouses nationwide are seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in sports; criminalize medically necessary, life-saving healthcare for transgender youth; ban discussion of LGBTQ+ youth and families in classrooms, effectively erasing our community; revive “bathroom bills” to prohibit transgender young people from simply using the restroom at school; and even undermine private companies’ own internal inclusion and safe workplace programs.

Under Secretary Jones noted that the various laws and legislation that are being proposed and passed in states across America may affect LGBTQ Airmen, Guardians, and/or their LGBTQ dependents in different ways.

“The health, care and resilience of our DAF personnel and their families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to our ability to accomplish the mission,” said Jones. “We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families. Medical, legal resources, and various assistance are available for those who need them.”

In a press release the Air Force said should service members or their families need help with screening, treatment, or mental health support for medical concerns, they should start with DAF medical treatment facilities. The MTFs can also assist with navigating challenging life circumstances.
 
The Exceptional Family Member Program is another resource available for all active component Airmen and Guardians to assist families with special needs during the PCS process to include navigating medical, legal, and educational support for dependents during relocation.
 
“As is the case with all of our family members, if the support a family member needs becomes unavailable, commanders can work to get the service member to an assignment where their loved ones can receive the care they need,” Jones added.

“The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) is incredibly pleased to see the Air Force/Space Force LGBTQ+ Initiative Team (LIT) take lead in protecting military families, with LGBTQ+ dependent, especially with the barrage of homophobic and transphobic bills being introduced around the country,” said Jennifer Dane, the CEO of the Modern Military Association of America, in an emailed statement to the Blade.

“We must protect those who have vowed to protect us, especially military families directly impacted by unlawful legislation.  MMAA has called for SecDef Austin and the President Biden to intervene and protect LGBTQ+ military dependents. We have provided solutions such as immediate compassionate reassignments, halting orders, and enhanced protection for military families with LGBTQ+ dependents who are stationed or engaged route to states with these devastating laws,” said Dane.

“We urge other service branches to take the Air Force / Space Force’s example and lay out guidelines for military families to use so they are protected and not punished. 
If we don’t protect LGBTQ+ military dependents or any LGBTQ+ child for that matter, it can be life or death,” she added.

In its press release the Air Force noted that installation legal offices are another free source of information for personnel who need assistance navigating new and existing local laws. While installation legal personnel cannot represent Airmen, Guardians or their families in court, they can provide vital advice and counsel.
 
Service members and their families can also seek additional support through their local Airman and Family Readiness Center, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program, or Military OneSource, which can be contacted 24/7 at 800-342-9647

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular