James Joyner at the Below the Beltway blog:
Tammy Smith has been promoted to brigadier general, thus becoming the first American general officer who also happens to be openly gay.
Stars and Stripes (“Smith becomes first gay general officer to serve openly“):
Army reserve officer Tammy Smith calls her recent promotion to brigadier general exciting and humbling, saying it gives her a chance to be a leader in advancing Army values and excellence.
What she glosses over is that along with the promotion she is also publicly acknowledging her sexuality for the first time, making her the first general officer to come out as gay while still serving. It comes less than a year after the end of the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
[. . .]
Tom Ricks observes, “It is an interesting moment, in part because it is so uncontroversial.”
While I think Ricks is right, a couple of caveats are in order. First, this just happened today. And most of the news reports thus far are in the gay press and niche outlets. The sole exception is the right-wing Washington Times, which thus far has only a very short clip on the matter presented without commentary. Second, being a lesbian in the military simply hasn’t come with the same stigma as being a gay man. When one of the latter comes out — and it’ll happen sooner rather than later — we’ll really know how much the culture has evolved.