Berman & Asbel, LLP

Military servicemembers who disclose LGBT status on social networking sites risk discharge

Another reminder that what you post online can potentially be read by anyone comes in this alert from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  Military personnel who post on social networking sites such as Facebook need to be careful about revealing information that could disclose their being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender because if that information is read or passed on to military authorities, it could lead to discharge under the Don't Ask Don't Tell law which is still in effect.

The guidelines from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network include:

• DO NOT use a military email address for your profile;
• DO NOT access LGBT sites through a military computer at any time, or even through a personal computer during duty hours;
• DO NOT mention the fact that you are in the military in your personal profile, in chat rooms or other online forums;
• DO NOT provide photographs - especially not in uniform - or descriptions of tattoos or other identifying information;
• DO NOT tell friends in the military that you have a profile with a LGBT site;
• DO NOT submit your profile to be a "featured member;"
• DO NOT use any video-chat features.

A good idea, and one which is championed by the SLDN, is to abolish the Don't Ask Don't Tell law so that LGBT servicemembers can serve openly without fear of discharge.  Not only is the policy unjust but it also deprives the military and the nation of the service of many dedicated and patriotic service members.   Let all those who wish to serve their country do so and let's judge them by the quality of their performance and conduct on the job only.  Are you listening, President Obama?

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