New House Bill Hopes To Create Commission On LGBTQ Soldiers

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A new House Bill is hoping to look into the past discrimination and offenses against LGBTQ military service members.

On March 4, Reps. Mark Takano and Anthony Brown, who are both members of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs, introduced bill H.R. 1596, according to the Washington Blade. The bill is otherwise known as the Commission to Study the Stigmatization, Criminalization, and Ongoing Exclusion and Inequality for LGBTQ Servicemembers and Veterans Act of 2021.

If passed, the bill would authorize a commission to conduct an investigation into the past and current treatment of LGBTQ servicemembers and veterans. The commission could also then be authorized to give reccomendations to Congress on how to build “a path forward that various government agencies, service providers, and the military should follow to ensure equity for LGBTQ+ Americans who wish to serve.”

“For many generations, LGBTQ Americans have stepped up to serve our country in uniform, even when discriminatory policies prevented them from serving openly and when facing higher rates of harassment for just being who they are,” Takano said in the statement. “Many served in our military while hiding their identity, while others were discharged simply because they were LGBTQ.”

Takano then added, “Our nation must reckon with the effects of discriminatory military policies and undo the damage that has been done. Establishing this commission would help Americans understand the effects of anti-LGBTQ military policies, provide a path forward to rectify the injustices, and help create a welcoming culture for LGBTQ servicemembers and veterans in the military and at VA [U.S. Veterans Affairs Department].”

“For far too long, LGBTQ+ servicemembers experienced discrimination, harassment, lost opportunities, and violence because of their identity,” said Brown in his own statement. “Military policy and practice were wrong then and contributed to this unacceptable environment, a fact that our country must acknowledge in order to move forward. By acknowledging and providing redress for past discrimination, we can better foster inclusivity within the ranks, improve unit cohesion and readiness.”

The bill won’t just appear in the House of Representatives, however. Takano and Brown have been working with Senator Richard Blumenthal to introduce a companion version of the bill in the Senate within the near future.


Source: The Washington Blade,

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