With the retirement of Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, undersecretary Eric Fanning became “civilian leader of the Air Force” on June 21.
As Buzzfeed Politics reports, this is unique because Fanning is a gay man who was in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and who now holds a leadership position as the military continues its transformation away from the ban.
In a recent interview, Fanning talked about some of his experiences in the military, particularly the years just prior to the repeal of DADT. Regarding the time when the push for repeal was taking place in Obama’s first term, Fanning said: “I didn’t know what I was going to do if we didn’t get the repeal through because some people couldn’t work because they were openly gay or lesbian.”
Fanning also intimated he would to see sexual orientation policies further changed and better codified:
Speaking personally, I always think it’s important to have non-discrimination codified to include everyone. The military, because it has a chain of command, has a different attitude about this and a different way to try to go about protecting protecting airmen, sailors, soldiers, and Marines–but Eric Fanning? Yes, I personally like to see these things in writing and codified.
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