Army General Introduces His Husband At Major Military Conference

14-DECEMBER-2012---Col-Randy-S--TaylorRainbowFlagThere was a moment this week that many thought they would never see. Brig. Gen. Randy S. Taylor rose to address a major conference and introducing his spouse. However in this case his spouse was his husband Lucas who was sitting in the same row with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter Army Secretary John McHugh and other senior officials. Taylor has served 27 years through the ban on gays, the “don’t ask don’t tell policy,” and now the new policy of openness. He and Lucas have had an 18-year relationship.

Taylor discussed the sacrifices that Lucas made for his career and how they both bet everything on the Army. The bet paid off.

This week also saw the adoption of a new policy barring discrimination against members of the U.S. military based on their sexual orientation. Sexual orientation now joins discrimination based on race, gender and other protected categories.

The event itself is notable as the Pentagon’s 4th Gay Pride celebration that featured a gay Marine officer, a gay Army sergeant who is a criminal investigator, a lesbian chaplain and a transgender, Amanda Simpson, who is executive director of the Army’s Office of Energy Initiatives.

Carter set the perfect tone and told the crowd that “We need to be a meritocracy.” Indeed, our military will only stay competitive if we take the best and brightest from our ranks. Many gay and lesbian citizens have answered that call throughout history and they have now achieved true equal status with their peers in service.

Source: Washington Times

203 thoughts on “Army General Introduces His Husband At Major Military Conference”

  1. I had the distinct honor of working for then, COL Randy S. Taylor. It was the most enlightening experience of my life; he is indeed a great leader, one many could learn a thing or three from when it comes to leadership, cyber defense, and just being darn awesome. I am so proud of him and happy for his promotion as well. I’d work for him any day. He has much to give the world. One of the best bosses and leaders I have EVER experienced.

  2. First, let me play devil’s advocate, and then explain why I feel that HIV concerns should not preclude gays from serving in the military.

    MSM are not permitted to donate blood because the FDA has put in place multiple, redundant layers of protection for the patients who receive blood products. Those layers are needed so that if one fails, there are other “fail safes.” That window period immediately after infection but before viral load reaches the testing sensitivity is one of there reasons why MSM are excluded. Statistically, there is a far greater probability of encountering a false negative of MSM than straight.

    And, the reason why the FDA doesn’t just change the questionnaire to ask about behavior rather than orientation:

    “Having had a low number of partners is known to decrease the risk of HIV infection. However, to date, no donor eligibility questions have been shown to reliably identify a subset of MSM (e.g., based on monogamy or safe sexual practices) who do not still have a substantially increased rate of HIV infection compared to the general population or currently accepted blood donors.”

    It is also true that any First Aid training typically includes dire warnings about taking universal precautions.

    OK, so that being said, the reason why I feel HIV concerns should not bar gays from serving honorably in our military is as follows. It is true that allowing gays who are open about their orientation to serve will likely lead to an increase in gays in our military. Statistically, there will be more false negatives among them. However, the FDA has such strict safeguards because it’s pretty difficult to avoid transmission from receiving an infected blood product. For a transmission to happen on a battlefield, a false negative person would have to be injured, and the people around him would also have to be wounded, or receive contamination in their eyes or some other vulnerable area. It seems like an unlikely scenario.

    It is true that HIV infection rates are on the rise in the military, especially the navy, but I believe that is tied to declining condom use and irresponsible behavior. Well-meaning people keep comforting the HIV community telling them they “might” live to a ripe old age, but that depends on how far along the infection is diagnosed, and how long the drugs work. HIV drugs can work beautifully for a while, and then the patient just crashes. The medical community is just guessing how long they can stave off the disease, because we don’t have 50 years of data on the latest class of drugs. But people hear this comforting message and think there is no read to be responsible.

  3. Through out history one extreme has often created another. The suppression of homosexuality as if it were a threat to humanity in recent history has been an extreme reaction to a part of nature, a part of nature that offers no threat whatsoever to humanity.

    The abrupt, in historical context, release of homosexuality from the bias, fear, and phobias of society has created another and quite normal reaction. The new found emancipation of homosexuals fuels an, ‘in your face’ aspect that is understandable, especially when at the same time segments of society continue to attempt to suppress and denigrate gays.

    This has been seen with blacks in America, immigrant populations in the host countries of various former colonial powers such as Great Britain, France, etc. At the same time, those that were kept down are rising up both angrily and appreciatively, while under fire.

    In time as homophobia declines and gays perform more on their merits as contributors to society the need for some to ‘express’ themselves in an overtly sexual manner will also decline. If one takes a peek back through history a similar expression of sexual freedom took place in the 60s and 70s. The ‘Summer of Love’ was created, in part, by the John Birch Society. One can take Penny Loafers, Madras Shirts, Levis, and a crew cut only so long.

    The arguments presented by some regarding the dangers of gays serving in the military are selective and are not presented in a historical context. There are models for this sort of transition in the admission of blacks to all parts of the service, women to all parts of the service, and now this gay general.

    The weakest part of any argument is the end of one that is losing. However sometimes that is where the most vitriol is to be found.

  4. John530

    Horsepuckey is horsepuckey, but you explained things in a more cogent and civilized manner. Thanks for doing that. And if bam bam was paying attention, she noticed that I disparaged her post, not her.

    Your comment on priorities is one with which I concur.

  5. bigfatmike

    Just because there are problems encountered by soldiers with regard to IEDs, RPGs, automatic weapons fire and mortar fire, doesn’t relieve the military of its obligation to minimize any other potential dangers or harm impacting its servicemen. If you want to argue that better protective gear should be distributed to soldiers, go ahead. The fact that other problems exist does not negate the issue that I raised. Again, if soldiers or the public are unaware of an issue, it would be impossible to consider it a pressing matter if the facts and true numbers of infections have been suppressed.

    1. “Just because there are problems encountered by soldiers with regard to IEDs, RPGs, automatic weapons fire and mortar fire, doesn’t relieve the military of its obligation to minimize any other potential dangers or harm impacting its servicemen. ”

      So far as I know the military has absolutely no obligation to minimize any dangers real or potential to soldiers. I am pretty sure there are ample case law to demonstrate that point. Officers get to order units into battles they cannot win. Officers can and do send units into battle with equipment that is inadequate to defeat the adversary or outright defective. We fly helicopters that are know to loose their blades and even civilians usually have no recourse when one crashes.

      You have made two main points.

      The first is that HIV contaminated blood represents a threat. I have demonstrated that removing gay soldiers from the military might – repeat might – change the incident rate. But it does not by any stretch remove the threat because there are multiple sources of HIV contaminated blood. As powerful as this country is, we cannot control the many different ways a soldier in combat might come into contact with HIV contaminated blood. Removing gays is simply not a solution to the stated problem.

      Your second point is that the threat of HIV contaminated blood might change the behavior of soldiers in combat that is it might affect unit cohesion. I have given reasons why I think that is unlikely.

      However there are other ways to examine your claim.

      HIV contaminated blood is just one of many, many threats. Firing a 30 round magazine produces fumes that can cause multiple illnesses. Breathing fumes or contact with jet fuel can cause cancer. Microscopic particles from depleted uranium munitions can poison the body. Yet soldiers still soldier on, do what they are supposed to do, and usually accomplish their missions.

      Any fire fight probably produces contact with scores of chemicals that are at least as likely to cause serious illness HIV contaminated blood. Yet we have no problem with unit cohesion.

      When did we finally acknowledge that there were gays in the military? – I think that would have to be back with Clinton’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Soldiers have known they are fighting along side gays since at least since that time – nearly 20 years. Yet we have no problems that I am aware of that can be traced to insubordination due to fear of HIV contaminated blood. Are you aware of any such incidents?

      As a reality check you might consider whether unit cohesion declined from Reagan’s administration though Clinton’s administration. The answer to that is no, not in any way that required changes to doctrine, strategy or unit tactics.

      Once again to summarize your first point there is no current technique that can eliminate the threat of HIV contaminated blood. None.

      As to your second point, we have nearly 20 years experience with acknowledging gays in the military and we have absolutely zero evidence that fear of HIV infected blood negatively affects unit cohesion. If anything, we know that unit cohesion and combat effectiveness are as high as they have ever been. That fact ought to be pretty persuasive to anyone with an open mind.

      Your two issues are theoretical at best. We have no solution for your first point and no evidence to support your second point. Your two points are of no practical consequence – none.

      If anything I would have to say concern over your two points is trumped up nonsense to justify some good old fashioned gay bashing.

      If on the remote chance that anyone is truly concerned about HIV contaminated blood affecting military effectiveness, rest assured the military is taking the most effective actions possible to protect troops and there is no negative effect on combat effectiveness – none.

  6. Lol. Great analysis, shallow as it is. You can anticipate problems all you want. Doesn’t make it rational. I’m sorry but the sky isn’t falling, chicken little. Pointing to some conspiracy theory that oddly supports your original point seems a bit opportunistic as well. I’m sorry that you’re not getting your way when it comes to fully integrating homosexuals into society, but change is happening whether you like it or not. Much like it did when it happened with women and racial minorities, although we still have some work to do on that front as well.

  7. john530

    Rules and regulations can result as a response to an existing problem, AND, sometimes rules and regulations can result from an effort to stave off an anticipated problem. You seem to believe that only the former–rules and regulations addressing an already existing problem–are all that exist. Surprise. Not true. It is not necessary for me to prove that HIV infection, transmitted soldier to soldier, is an existing problem in the military to reference the need to safeguard against it. That’s not to say that it doesn’t, in fact, already exist. If you have even the slightest knowledge, regarding how the military often masks a multitude of internal problems, you wouldn’t be so fast to declare that I am speaking of a non-existent issue. You, as a soldier, would never know. You are expendable. Replaceable. So what if some soldiers contract HIV through unprotected exposure on the battlefield? Go ahead and prove it resulted from the battlefield. The military will blame your booze-filled binges on leave for your own predicament. Not everything is shared with you, or, in fact, with the American people. So, you see, it could very well be a problem that the military finds that it needs to mask, given the current politically correct climate. Even if it does not exist, few, if any safeguards, appear to be in place to adequately protect soldiers. Testing, at best, is patently unreliable.

  8. “it is unfortunate that your health and safety, including that of your fellow Marines, does not merit a more intense examination of this issue on your part.”

    I appreciate you concern over my concern few my fellow service members and my examination of the issue we’ve been discussing, which I can assure you I’ve examined intensely. That examination is precisely why I’m not concerned about it. I’m much more concerned about things that actually affect our service member’s health and safety. Like whether or not they should be dying or put in harms way so that our oligarchs can make a profit. Or whether the VA will be funded to levels to actually accommodate the increasing numbers of veterans requiring access to it. I hope that those things are much higher on your priority list of health and safety issues that affect veterans than the unlikely nature of their contamination on the battlefield.

    1. ” I’m much more concerned about things that actually affect our service member’s health and safety.”

      We know that gays are going to be in the military and in combat. I can’t imagine why anyone would think that trying to keep that secret would make anyone safer.

      Even if we could eliminate gays form military service the fact is HIV is broadly distributed through the society including heterosexuals. Further, we have military serving in about 100 countries and we have fought in many of those countries. Some of those populations have high HIV rates. We have no control over the HIV status of our adversaries.

      HIV infection is just one more risk that fighting men and women encounter regardless of our efforts.

      My guess is that those in combat are far more concerned with more immediate dangers such as IEDs, automatic weapons fire, RPGs, or mortar fire.

      As for HIV contaminated blood, I would guess there are more immediate concerns such as puling the wounded to what ever cover is available, evaluating whether taking time to support the wounded might jeopardize the mission (that is right 68 whiskey manual tells us saving the wounded is secondary to accomplishing the mission), if possible, clearing the air path, stopping blood loss, checking for and relieving chest compression due to bleeding into the chest cavity which can stop the heart or collapse the lungs, and finally arranging medical evacuation with in an hour or so – if you can do that there is a pretty good question that you casualty will be WIA not KIA. And while you are doing that be sure to maintain situational awareness so that you can assure guy who has trained and sworn to kill you is the one who dies for his country – not the other way around.

      HIV in the blood – I would guess that is not a priority in the middle of a fire fight.

  9. Bam Bam,

    The statistics you provide on hiv are irrelevant to the reality of whether or not service members who are gay represent more of a danger when wounded than a straight service member or whether that danger would effect unit cohesion or behavior on the battle field. You are more than welcome to speculate all you want about what COULD happen, but until you prove that this is actually happening to a degree that we should deny homosexuals access to military jobs, then it all just seems like hand waving to me. It seems like the military does a great job of protecting us from contaminating each other, unless you can show that it isn’t effective at doing so.

  10. john530

    Quite frankly, I think that you are confused. Check my comments. Not one word–not one–mentioning anything remotely connected to promiscuity. I did, in fact, mention the statistics regarding the high percentage of bi or gay men who are HIV positive. I did not create the statistics. Don’t blame the messenger. If you equate that with calling bi or gay men promiscuous, so be it. The statistics, regarding HIV infection, trump your anecdotal evidence any day of the week and twice on Sunday. The statistics lend credibility to the notion that there is something inherently dangerous about having gay soldiers. Testing, you say? Testing, prior to admission to the service, including that which occurs prior to deployment, is unreliable. Do a little reading. There is a latency period, between infection, where the virus is present in the blood, yet it is undetectable, yielding a false negative. I assume that you and your Marine buddies are blissfully ignorant about that fact.

    Again, whether you comprehend what I have stated or not, my interests remain with the safety of our soldiers and the efficacy of our military. Warfare does not yield the opportunity to exercise the necessary prophylactic protocol required to avoid transmission of this virus to unwitting servicemen and women. Medics, fully protected with gloves or protective gear, are not my concern. The average Joe, on the battlefield, attending to a wounded comrades, should not be exposed to HIV. Soldiers have the right to expect that the military exposes them to no more risks than those which are absolutely necessary. Also, anything which gives soldiers pause to assist another wounded serviceman, due to fears, real or imagined, of infection, needs to be considered.

    Marine or no marine, it is unfortunate that your health and safety, including that of your fellow Marines, does not merit a more intense examination of this issue on your part.

  11. john530 – if I came under fire, I think the only thing on my mind would be running away. Even watching movies like “Saving Private Ryan” give me the chills when I consider what actually serving in a world war must have been like for those young soldiers. Those who serve in the military are far more courageous than me.

  12. Bab Bam

    You are right, my anecdote is generally weak evidence. Nontheless, it’s stronger than your non exisistant evidence. It’s up to you to prove that it would happen. Nor does my anecdote imply that what you outlined couldn’t happen. I just highly doubt that it would, in light of the way the majority of those I served with spoke about the issue; as well as the blood screenings we all receive.

    I never called you a homophobe. Your words speak for themselves. It just seems a little biased to pick on gays. Let me pose a few questions. Do you think that marines in battle, who, like any other unit spend a lot of time together? Don’t you think that it’s likely then that the marines would know which among them are overly promiscuous? If you do then wouldn’t you expect the same behavior toward marines that we’re known to be promiscuous. It was sure the last thing on my mind when sh*t hit the fan.

  13. If more people used condoms then less disease would be spread. A male cant get knocked up so they are not as concerned. Perhaps HIV is God’s way of dealing with His notion of Sin.

  14. Sorry to get on my soap box, but I am passionate about eradicating this awful plague.

    And if we ever DO miraculously find a cure or vaccine for AIDS, then another dread disease will rear its ugly head unless safe sex practices become the norm outside of monogamous relationships. That’s just biology.

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