People have hit out at the US Marine Corps after a tweet was shared on the marines’ official Twitter page showing six rainbow bullets.
The US Marine Corps took to social media on Wednesday (1 June) to mark the start of Pride Month, which runs through June and celebrates LGBTQ+ history and culture.
A Twitter post noting that ‘throughout June the US Marine Corps will honour the contributions of LGBTQ service members’ also included a photo of a combat helmet alongside photoshopped bullets with rainbow tips, prompting fierce social media backlash.
One person replied to the tweet saying: “Getting killed by a rainbow bullet is so progressive,” while another echoed: “Do we only shoot gay bullets now?”
Other social media users were quick to point out that the post was distasteful in the wake of last month’s Texas shooting, when 19 children and two adults were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde.
“First off, bullets? On the heels of yet another shooting? Really?!” one person tweeted, with another adding: “In light of the nation still hurting from so many mass shootings […] what decision maker thought a theme of, ‘Let’s represent LGBTQ people with BULLETS’ would be a good idea?”
Others tweeted their dismay over the fact the the US Marine Corps were using the Pride rainbow – the LGBTQ+ symbol – despite having a poor track record of protecting marines with marginalised sexual identities.
People pointed to the killing of Jennifer Laude in 2014. Laude was a 26-year-old trans woman from the Philippines and was drowned to death by Joseph Scott Pemberton, a 19-year-old marine.
Sharing a photo of Laude alongside a paragraph summarising the circumstances of her death, one person wrote: “Yeah sure let’s just forget this, no?”
However, one former marine was quick to point out that the US Marine Corps’ show of inclusivity was a step forward.
They wrote: “When I joined don’t ask don’t tell was still law of the land and the military gladly dishonourably discharged anyone who was even hinted at being LGBT, that the military is now 100% open to LGBT and punishes anti-LGBT discrimination is a win in my book.”
In 1993 the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (DADT) policy was signed. DADT meant that those identifying as gay and lesbian could serve in the military as long as their sexuality remained secret or was not reported.
DADT was repealed in 2010.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email firstname.lastname@example.org