The U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina, has doubled down on supporting the LGBTQ community after homophobic comments were made under a Facebook post recognizing and honoring the contributions of LGBTQ members of the Marine Corps.
The Facebook post was uploaded on the first day of Pride Month and shows an image of a helmet with six rainbow-colored bullets with the words “Proud to serve” written on the side. The caption under the post recognized June as Pride Month, praised the contributions of LGBTQ service members and pledged to foster “an environment free from discrimination, and defend the values of treating all equally, with dignity and respect” within the Marine Corps.
This did not sit well with some people, who left homophobic comments under the initial post.
But Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Yarbrough, head of communication strategy and operations for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, responded to each of those negative comments.
“This is a sad day,” one commenter wrote. “Whoever is behind this is a disgrace and should be court marshaled!” (sic)
“We should court martial people who respect the service of all our service members?” Yarborough replied. “The freedoms you enjoy are currently protected by those serving in the ranks, which includes LGBTQ. You are welcome for their service.”
“Why is the Marine corps singling out any particular group? While claiming all inclusiveness the Corps is choosing only some groups for identification. If truly all inclusive show there is no discrimination against anyone, period. No exclusion for identification for anyone. We are all Marines. Do your job well and leave it at that!” wrote a second poster.
“In the Marine Corps, we treat everyone equally. Field days, working paries, and weekend duties have no room for discrimination,” Yarbrough responded.
Other officers on Facebook replied to other negative comments, assisting Yarbrough by calling people out on their homophobia.
“My Marine Corps has gone woke,” a local Republican Party account tweeted.
“If by ‘woke’ you mean showing appreciation to a group who has made major contributions to the U.S. Military….then yes.” Master sergeant Rick Mistic wrote. “Have a meritorious day!”
A TikTok user, Ellie Rowan, posted a short video that went viral informing people about the ongoing Facebook debate. In response, users flooded the page, leaving a slew of supportive comments, with over 2,000 people “liking” the post.
“CWO Bobby Yarbrough should get a medal every June,” one commenter left on Rowan’s Tiktok post.
While LGBTQ people have served in the military since time immemorial, it’s only been in recent years that they could serve openly. Starting in 1993, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” act struck down the prohibition on gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, but placed restrictions on their service by requiring them to “closet” their identities. From 1993 until 2010, when the policy was repealed, more than 100,000 service members – including many outed against their will – were relieved from duty.
Following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, LGB service members were able to serve, but transgender individuals were prohibited from disclosing their identities until President Joe Biden repealed a Trump-era prohibition that required them to forego transitioning while enlisted. Now, any person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is free to serve in the various branches of the military.
As Yarbrough told one commenter who thanked him for honoring all Marines, regardless of their identities: “We take pride in all who serve.”
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