Out Lesbian Named Commandant At U.S. Air Force Academy

A USAF spokesperson praised Col. Kristin Goodwin's "outstanding service and leadership credentials"

The U.S. Air Force Academy has nominated an out lesbian as its next commandant, the first time the institution will be led by an LGBT director.

Col. Kristin E. Goodwin
Barksdale Air Force Base

Colonel Kristin Goodwin, currently serving as the senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, is a former bomber pilot who led the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the squadron’s first female commander.

USAFA Lt. Col. Allen Herritage, the academy’s director of public affairs, praised Goodwin’s “outstanding service and leadership credentials” and claimed her experience will “strengthen the academy’s continued drive toward excellence.”

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an LGBT advocacy group, praised Goodwin’s nomination, which comes less than six years after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. But he questioned why the Air Force hadn’t promoted such a historic event.

“Why are they not publicly acknowledging this groundbreaking selection of a gay, female new Commandant? This question HAS to be asked… “Should not USAFA and Senior Air Force leadership be touting this action as an historic milestone of Jovian magnitude as well?”

Goodwin still has to be confirmed by the Senate (usually a formality) and will oversee 4,000 cadets, as well as some 300 Air Force and civilian personnel who work at the Colorado Springs academy.

She will succeed Brigadier General Stephen Williams at the academy and has also been nominated for promotion to Brigadier General.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.