The Air Force has moved families 15 times to evade LGTBQ+, racial discrimination
The department started tracking discrimination-related movements in 2021.
The Department of the Air Force has moved military families 15 times over the past two years to help them escape racist or anti-LGTBQ+ harassment.
“Since 2021, the Department of the Air Force has granted 15 relocation exceptions to policy for members experiencing a range of racial- and LGBTQ+-related discrimination,” a department spokesperson said.
Department officials have previously said that military families with LGBTQ+ members have been forced to move to new bases because of harassment at school.
The Air Force started tracking these specific movements in 2021, and doesn’t have any data on it before then.
Requests to move bases, or “relocation exceptions to policy,” are made before the end of a standard tour, and are “typically made as a result of a personal hardship significantly greater than what others encounter in similar circumstances,” the spokesperson said.
Asked which bases or installations military families have requested to leave, the Air Force said, “We do not normally release relocation details due to the risk of personal identification of these families.”
“When I'm forced to move families from installations, because their school will do nothing when their LGBT kid is being bullied—that worries me, because that's distracting from the mission, that's detracting from our readiness,” Alex Wagner, assistant Air Force secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, said earlier this month.
“If servicemembers are thinking and concerned about the experience their kids are having, they're not going to be focused on their jobs. They're not gonna be focused on their mission,” Wagner said.
Troops can request a relocation ETP at any time, and it’s “rare” for it to be denied, the spokesperson said. If it is rejected, it’s typically due to delays of mandatory clearance for dependents, including medical, and/ or delay of travel documents for overseas assignments, they said.
As the Pentagon works to protect military families from discrimination, right-wing politicians have introducing and passing a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ laws and stoking anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric. Conservative lawmakers have also argued that “woke-ism” is causing the military’s recruiting woes—although top military leaders have repeatedly said there is no evidence that diversity policies have harmed recruiting or readiness.