June designated as Pride Month for the DoD

June designated as Pride Month for the DoD
By Dana Rimington
Hilltop Times Correspondent
May 29, 2014

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — June will be a historic month at Hill Air Force Base. 

It will be the first time the Department of Defense has issued a policy recognizing June as Pride Month for military installations across the country. 

Observing one’s heritage isn’t a new concept for the Department of Defense, according to Master Sgt. Terry Gilbert, HAFB Pride Month Committee chairperson, with months honoring black history, Spanish and Asian heritage. 

“We are not just singling out the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month, because every month we celebrate different cultures that serve in the military throughout the history of the U.S. Armed Forces, where we are challenged to open the ranks of military service to all personnel, regardless of the color of skin, sexual preference, or religious identity,” Gilbert said. “We do so with unrelenting fervor, to allow any American the opportunity to serve their country through military service.” 

However, honoring Pride Month is a new concept for HAFB. “This is new to our military culture, because it’s only been in the past two years that LGBT have been able to serve openly,” Gilbert said. “We celebrate the accomplishments of all of our workforce, and in doing so, we celebrate the significance of diversity in building a brighter future for all of our citizens.”

Not all military installations are choosing to plan events for Pride Month, but when HAFB first heard of the policy in April, they set forth with a committee to represent the LGBT community that work at HAFB.

There are three main events planned at HAFB during Pride Month, beginning with an LGBT Pride Expo on June 11 at Centennial Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The expo is intended to promote LGBT awareness with sponsors from various LGBT organizations from the area. Gilbert said those who move here from other parts of the country may not be aware of the services provided to them. 

On June 21, there will be an LGBT Pride Night at The Landing from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Free to the public, it will be a night of celebrating LGBT heritage with various LGBT performers. 

On June 24, an LGBT Pride Luncheon will be held at the Landing with guest speaker Kristen Beck, transgender former Navy Seal. 

Hilltop Times