The United States Military Has Its First Openly Gay Leader

The Senate confirms highly qualified Eric Fanning as Army secretary

Yesterday was a good day on Capitol Hill, as the Senate confirmed Eric Fanning to be the new Army secretary. This is great news, because, as The Army Times reports, Fanning is “widely viewed as one of the most capable leaders in the Pentagon.” He’s got a resume that would make even the most seasoned Washington veteran blush, and outgoing secretary John McHugh has commended both Fanning’s “sound judgment and insight" as well as President Obama for making “an outstanding nomination."

Eric Fanning is also gay, and will be the first out person in a leadership position of the United States military.

Prior to his nomination last fall, Fanning spoke with Defense Intelligence Employees in June about the major changes he’s seen in the Department of Defense regarding treatment of the LGBT community over the past 20 years. During a DIA Pride Month event, Fanning told colleagues that while there are still challenges to being out in the military, “There is a much larger community out there that is looking for opportunities to show its support of us,” describing the transition of attitudes as moving from “tolerance to acceptance to embrace.”

Fanning’s confirmation took eight months, but the hang up didn’t have anything to do with his sexuality. Republican Senator Pat Roberts from Kansas blocked the process because of his own opposition to Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Roberts wanted assurances from the Administration that no detainees would be transferred from Gitmo to Fort Leavenworth in his home state.

NBCNews reports that Senator Roberts made his position clear on the floor of the Senate last month, saying “Let me be very clear on this—as a veteran, a Marine—I support Mr. Eric Fanning for this post. If the White House calls and assures me that terrorists held at Guantanamo will not come to Fort Leavenworth, I will release the hold—immediately."

The senator reportedly received such assurances in private, and made good on his word to let the confirmation go through. Fanning has most recently been serving as the acting under secretary of the Army, and before that he was the chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ash Carter. He has also served as acting secretary and undersecretary of the Air Force, and has been both the deputy undersecretary and deputy chief management officer of the Navy.

Shortly after receiving his nomination from President Obama, his now former boss, Defense Secretary Carter, had nothing but praise for Fanning, saying that "Eric served as my first chief of staff at the Pentagon, and it has been a privilege over the course of my career to work alongside him and watch him develop into one of our country's most knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced public servants."

As Obama prepares to leave office next year, he is demonstrating a strong commitment to empowering the LGBT community with a combination of policy moves and staffing decisions. He officially repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, extended federal benefits to same-sex married couples in July of last year, and oversaw the hiring of the White House’s first openly transgender staffer in August.

That’s worth a big round of USA! USA! USA!


Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

Keep Reading Show less
Hero Video
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less
via Facebook / Autumn Dayss

Facebook user and cosplayer Autumn Dayss has stirred up a bit of Halloween controversy with her last-minute costume, an anti-Vaxx mother.

An image she posted to the social network shows a smiling Dayss wearing a baby carrier featuring a small skeleton. "Going to a costume party tonight as Karen and her non-vaccinated child," the caption over the image reads.

Keep Reading Show less