Major General Leah Lauderback could choose to dwell on the misery she carried through the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era, when she needed to hide her sexuality to stay in the military. Instead, the Space Force official wants to create a better future for those like her.
“I hid. I evaded questions. I was untruthful at times…My private life and my relationships were stressed, and there was a lack of support for my family,” the Space Force’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance director told reporters Wednesday. “I now choose to focus on the light.”
Lauderback is a leader of the Air Force’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning Initiative Team (LIT), one of two task forces created in March to update military policies that still pose barriers to minority service members. The other, an Indigenous Nations Equality Team (INET), will handle the concerns of airmen and guardians of American Indian and Native Alaskan heritage. Colonel Terrence Adams, deputy director for strategy, policy, and assessment at Air Force headquarters and an airman of Cherokee and Creek Indian heritage, leads the INET.
The groups plan to find issues that need resolving, recommend changes to Department of the Air Force leadership, educate others on the unique traditions and challenges in their communities, and offer support to members of those communities who are struggling.
Ten years after the Pentagon policy of banning openly gay people from serving in the military was repealed in 2011, Lauderback said, “We decided that a barrier analysis working group was necessary to determine if our LGBTQ+ community was able to serve openly without fear. More importantly, are they able to serve in an inclusive and welcoming environment?”
Read more at AirForceTimes.com.