Defense Media Activity Public Affairs
To celebrate diversity within the DoD, the Defense Media Activity held a presentation in honor of LGBT Pride Month on June 28.
The event featured guest of honor Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, one of four service members who historically came out as transgender while working in the Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s office a week prior to the announcement ending the ban on transgender troops.
In his speech to DMA personnel, Dremann highlighted the continued importance of inclusivity within the military.
“We don’t seek diversity to destroy unit cohesion,” he said. “We seek diversity to enhance cohesion. Does allowing transgender personnel to openly serve hurt readiness? No. Trans service members deploy. Nothing about being transgender prevents them from doing their job.”
Dremann, who began transitioning in 2011, is president of Service Members, Partners and Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, a transgender military organization which has more than 500 trans active-duty or veteran members.
SPART*A leaders met several times with military top brass to share their stories advocating for the end of the ban on transgender service. They regularly communicate with military leaders and advocacy groups to train leaders from within the military in the best ways to support transgender service members within their ranks.
“[Trans] service members still serve [as they transition],” Dremann said. “Our diversity drives us towards better solutions for our mission. And our mission continues to thrive.”
Ron Miott, staff action control officer at DMA who attended the event, said he appreciated the insight Dremann provided.
“The services are changing, and I want to learn and understand,” Miott said.
The DoD has made strides in LGBT acceptance starting with the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, which prohibited openly gay men and women from serving in the military.
DMA Director Ray Sheppard, who was also on hand at the event, said he hopes LGBT acceptance continues.
“We always celebrate and recognize these differences because without them, we won’t succeed,” Sheppard said.
Edie Brumskill, head of DMA’s Diversity Management Equal Opportunity office, said the event highlights DMA’s commitment to diversity.
“The LGBT Pride event is just another example of DMA’s commitment to not only having a diverse workforce, but having a workforce that feels included, valued and respected,” Brumskill said.