This much-anticipated, second installment of the Freedom to Serve guide pulls its name from our organization’s vision. This booklet was first released at the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” providing immediate guidance as lesbian, gay, and bisexual members began serving openly without fear of separation. Since our first installment, the Defense of Marriage Act has been repealed, prompting the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to finally recognize our spouses in ways their heterosexual counterparts always have been.
In this era of open service for LGB servicemembers—and uncertain open service for transgender servicemembers—this guide is intended help the LGBTQ military community make informed decisions about how to lead their lives and serve equally. It may also help LGBTQ servicemembers understand how to protect themselves and respond if they feel they have been targeted. This guide does not, however, provide comprehensive counseling for servicemembers, nor is it intended to be a substitute for seeking assistance from an attorney familiar with military law. Each servicemember’s situation is different and must be evaluated and handled based on its own facts. Servicemembers who need an in-depth assessment of their unique circumstances should contact our legal department directly.
All LGBTQ servicemembers and their allies should be aware of the information contained in this publication. It is important to review the entire guide before studying individual sections. This will provide an overview of the laws and policies, which is necessary to understand individual sections and how they work together, both on paper and in practice. It is also important to know that this guide was created using research of Defense Department directives. Regulations of the individual services generally mirror the Defense Department’s directives, though some differ in minor but sometimes significant ways.
You can download the Guide through this link: Freedom to Serve Guide (2018)