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Army’s top enlisted leader defends LGBTQ social media post; suggests criticism is ‘harassment’

Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston. (Staff Sgt. Adam Ross/U.S. Army)
June 19, 2023

The Army’s top enlisted leader actively engaged in a two-day battle on Twitter over public criticism of the 82nd Airborne’s post promoting Pride Month and LGBTQ+ service members.

Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, who is the Army’s top enlisted leader and is responsible for handling discipline and morale issues in the Army, pushed back against criticism of the 82nd Airborne’s Pride Month post on social media, arguing with Twitter users last Friday and Saturday who expressed displeasure with the current state of the military.

“As we wrap up the observance celebration of #Juneteenth we switch gears in honoring all those who partake in #PrideMonth,” the 82nd Airborne, also known as the All American Division, tweeted Friday. “Join us later this month as we come all together for the Respect, Service and Dignity as the Division MEO team hosts the Pride Month Observance Event.”

The 82nd Airborne’s post also encouraged Army families to read “Unconditional: A Guide to Loving and Supporting Your LGBTQ Child” and “LGBTQ: The Survival Guide for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Teens.”

READ MORE: Air Force memo encourages celebrating ‘Pride Month’; Rep. Roy urges GOP pull support for military funding bill in response

Multiple Twitter users commented on the 82nd Airborne’s post, questioning the Army’s priorities, labeling the Army’s push of the LGBTQ agenda a “disgrace” and slamming the military for going “woke” rather than “winning wars.”

“Thanks for sharing this opportunity,” Grinston said in response to the comments. “The comment section is a good time to refresh ourselves with discriminatory harassment: A form of harassment that is unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), national origin, or sexual orientation.”

Over the two-day period, Grinston engaged in back-and-forth arguments with multiple Twitter users, the Daily Caller first reported. In response to comments about the Army struggling to retain soldiers, Grinston tweeted an article stating that the Army hit its retention goal four months early. In response to concerns about the Army focusing on political agendas instead of focusing on training to win wars, Grinston said, “The 82nd gives their paratroopers more live fire opportunities than almost any other organization. Stay based in fact.”

The Daily Caller reported that while Grinston’s arguments drew praise from some Twitter, his active engagement on the 82nd Airborne’s post drew criticism from others.

“The comment section isn’t your [Area of Operations], and voicing disagreement is not harassment,” one Twitter user said. “Many veterans including this one are disgusted by the continued degeneracy of our armed forces, so prepare to copy notes you can refer to later during your retention-crisis strategy meetings.”

Another Twitter user questioned whether the 82nd Airborne’s official support of Pride Month violated the Department of Defense Directive 1344.10, which states: “Members on active duty should not engage in partisan political activity, and that members not on active duty should avoid inferences that their political activities imply or appear to imply official sponsorship, approval, or endorsement.”