Transsexual Veteran and AOG Member Writes in Support of MRFF

From: Transsexual USAF Academy Graduate’s E-Mail Address Withheld

Subject: Mr. Bullard’s attendance at NCLS

Date: February 16, 2019 at 10:32:44 AM MST

 

Lt Gen Silveria,

I am writing in support of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s (MRFF) request that you rescind the invitation for Mr. Bullard to speak at your National Character & Leadership Symposium (NCLS).

I am a USAF Academy (USAFA) graduate and former USAFA faculty member.  In 2017 we met at an Association of Graduates (AOG) chapter dinner where you struck me as being a person of integrity.  Thus, I hope you will ponder what I have to say.

I believe you strive to be true to the central tenets of the USAFA mission: “educate, train, and inspire men and women to become leaders of character”.  So, I must ask you if hosting someone who does not support equal rights, equality under the law, and separation of church & state is a way to inspire military leaders of character.

Mr. Bullard’s participation is not simply offering an opposing view.  I wish no ill upon Mr. Bullard.  However, I cannot say my good will is reciprocated. The weaponized dogma he enables promotes social stigmatization, damaging discrimination, and injurious victimization that bear true emotional and physical wounds.

Statistics tell me there’s probably 18-26 cadets like me hiding in plain sight in your wing today.  Statistics also tell me 5-11 of those cadets will, at some point in their lives, attempt suicide due to the visceral hatred exercised on transgender people, and the LGBTQ community, by others and facilitated by Mr. Bullard’s belief system.  Later if those cadets “come out”, there is a good chance their courage will be “rewarded” by an unemployment rate twice the national average and a poverty rate four times the national average.  At some point the premise of free speech is simply a crutch used by narrow-minded individuals who realize their privilege empowers them to turn their evil ideology into real harm.

You showed integrity by clamping down on the perceived race-based hate speech at the prep school. This is no different.  In fact, proactively inviting a purveyor of anti-LGBTQ hate speech, including animosity for some members of the USAFA faculty, staff, and cadet wing is no different than having black and Jewish cadets in Arnold Hall listening to an invited guest speaker from the Ku Klux Klan who lives and breathes racism and anti-Semitism.

What about those future leaders, listening to someone who promotes inequality, intolerance, and disrespect toward fellow citizens, fellow Air Force members?  How does that inspire the character and higher standard we expect of Air Force leaders?  Is this type of bigotry part of that higher standard?

You are not just tolerating hateful rhetoric under the guise of free speech, you are actively pursuing it.

There were 12 people under your command who reached out to the MRFF to voice their concerns with Mr. Bullard’s appearance at the NCLS.  They chose the MRFF because they had no confidence in the integrity of their chain of command to address their concerns without retribution.  Thus I also ask, do you think USAFA is the model of Air Force Core Values (Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do) that it should be?

Respectfully,

 

(Name Withheld), Lt Col, USAF (Retired)

USAFA Class of ‘77

Transsexual Veteran & AOG Member


From: Susan Zanol <[email protected]>
Date: February 16, 2019 at 5:19:16 PM PST
Subject: Mr. Bullard speaking at USAFA

Lt. Gen. Silveria,

  Please add me to the list of those who are asking that Mr. Bullard be uninvited from speaking to the Cadet Wing. I worked for the Commandant of Cadets as Chief of the Leadership Development Branch in the late 1980’s. I was the one who recommended and then invited guest speakers to the United States Air Force Academy. I would never have considered anyone with credentials similar to Mr. Bullard’s.
  After my Air Force career, I became a public school teacher. Although I believe that students should be exposed to various beliefs and ideals, my experience as a teacher taught me that young people don’t always pick up the lessons we would like them to. An extreme example would be to have a white supremacist as a speaker who then, because of his speech, manages to recruit some students to that cause.
  Integrity and honor are still essential qualities in the Air Force. Leaders must lead subordinates from a variety of backgrounds and meld them into a functioning team. How will a speech from a man who has used a great deal of money from profits at his fast food restaurants to fund hate groups, be beneficial to cadets? Air Force Academy leadership should always role model “do the right thing and live honorably.”
  Please withdraw the invitation.
Respectfully,
SUSAN P. ZANOL, Lt Col, USAF (ret)

 

 

Share this page:

Commenter Account Access

  • Register for a commenter account
    (Not required to post comments, but will save you time if you're a regular commenter)
  • Log in using your existing account
  • Click here to edit your profile and change your password
  • All comments are subject to our Terms of Use

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*