Air Force

July 11, 2014

Luke observes LGBT Pride Month

Tags:
Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Attendees of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month luncheon watch a video June 24 at Club Five Six which showed gay active-duty personnel speaking about their experiences, as well Eric Fanning, undersecretary of the Air Force, giving a speech. Civilians and Airmen of all ranks attended the event to show their support and ask questions concerning lesbian, gay and bisexual Airmen.

It wasn’t too long ago that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed and the Supreme Court found the Defense of Marriage Act’s definition of marriage unconstitutional, prompting the Defense Department to provide federal benefits to same-sex couples.

The question many had was if it would affect unit cohesion, morale or good order and discipline. Would military leadership support their gay troops? The answer at Luke Air Force Base was made clear on June 24 when the wing leadership and many Thunderbolts attended the first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Observance Month social at Club Five Six.

The event began with an excerpt from a presidential proclamation recognizing Pride Month. Then Justin Owen, Phoenix Pride executive director, took the stage.

“This is what I do every day,” Owen said. “I represent the LGBT community in our state, and it gives me chills to be standing here in front of all of you. It’s an honor.”

After Owen explained what Phoenix Pride is about, Owen educated attendees about the history behind the rainbow flag, and went over what each letter means in the acronym “LGBT.” Then he went over some LGBT community terms and what their definitions are before introducing Justin Garcia, an Army National Guard Soldier, and Luisa Valdez, also an Army veteran.

Each shared their coming-out story and their experiences serving in the military before DADT was repealed.

“I encourage you, I urge you and I thank you all for at least being willing to have the conversation,” Valdez said. “That in itself is so vital and important.”

Col. Jeremy Sloane, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander, came to the stage to thank the guest speakers before Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th FW commander, made closing comments.

“When they repealed ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ there were a lot of people who worried it would change our service – and it did change us – for the better,” Pleus said. “We are a better force today because we don’t discriminate. For the first time I hope members of the LGBT community can say to themselves, ‘I take pride in my job, I take pride in my family, I take pride in my friends, but most of all, I take pride in the service that I provide to this country.’ That is a success story.”

Owen couldn’t have been happier with the outcome of the event.

“It’s an absolutely amazing accomplishment,” Owen said. “The federal government and military recognizing our LGBT community is amazingly progressive and helps us to strive for equality all the way around. It was wonderful the number of people who came up to us and said ‘Thank you,’ and the general making the statements he made. Five years ago, I remember thinking something like this wouldn’t be possible and seemed so far away. The progress we’ve made so far and the amount of people who showed up today was amazing.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

Luke 1 brings home flagship

Senior Airman Devante Williams Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, speaks with the press after landing the flagship F-35 Lightning ll joint strike fighter Tuesday at Luke Air Force Base. The flagship’s arriva...
 
 

Every Airman has a voice

While Gen. Mark Welsh III was here at Luke Air Force Base, he discussed the importance of listening to your young Airmen, and making sure they feel empowered to have open dialogue and share ideas within their chain of command. As the NCO in charge of my section, I took General Welsh’s words to heart...
 
 

Off-base activities build your CAF

The Critical Days of Summer draw near. I know that in our shop this kicks off a slew of safety briefings about how to minimize the chance of injuries and stay out of danger. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from going out and exploring the Valley of the Sun. Luke is an amazing base because...
 

 
Senior Airman 
MARCY COPELAND

Love thy feet

Senior AirmanMARCY COPELAND Senior Airman Yadria Wood, 56th Medical Operations Squadron aerospace medical technician, wraps a toe after a wedge resection is performed April 16 on Luke Air Force Base. The human foot contains 26 ...
 
 

News Briefs May 1, 2015

BMGR IEC convenes The Intergovernmental Executive Committee for the Barry M. Goldwater Range will convene at 5:30 p.m. May 13 in Cabela’s Conference Room at 9380 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale. The IEC meets three times per year to facilitate the exchange of views, information and advice relating to the Air Force and Marine Corps’ management...
 
 

Trainee breaks 90 percent, never looks back

“Lee, get off my track!” the instructor yelled. The time clock showed that 21 minutes had passed. Everyone in my flight was finished with the mile-and-a-half run except me. I didn’t finish. Before that we had been mock tested on the sit-up and pushup portion of the test. I performed six sit-ups and zero pushups...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin