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Pride at the Deid

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ashley Gardner
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

In 2013, former president Barack Obama signed a proclamation designating June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Month and Al Udeid Air Base celebrates the month.

Openly serving is something that has not always been celebrated. People often wonder, if pride is celebrated for the LGBTQ community, why isn't it celebrated for the straight community? Well it all stems from the history of pride. 

According to the Human Rights campaign, Pride began in New York in 1970 as a result of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. The riots lasted about three days and were some of the most defining instances of LGBTQ people resisting against police discrimination. It provided a place to be one's most loud, proud, and free self. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the riots and the community fights to this day to love whom they love, openly.

Before September 20, 2011, being openly gay was grounds for separation in the military.

For the military and the world, itself, opening their arms up to change has greatly affected the people responsible for accomplishing the mission in a positive way. It has provided hope for those serving.

"Pride promotes a message of hope, and hope is critical to any individual who ever felt unworthy or questioned their self-worth," said Capt. Bradley Hayes-Raugh, Al Udeid Air Base Pride Month coordinator. "Pride is just as much about inspiring those who feel broken or scared due to things outside of their control as it is about celebrating and overcoming those emotional prisons. It is important to push this message of hope to those who still need to hear it to carry them through another day and praise how that hope brought many out of that darkness."

If there was any single thing the military has learned since the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," it's that the predictions the force would be weak was far from the truth. Instead, the appeal allows us to be open and diverse.

"Diversity is wheel," said Capt. Jonathan Roman, Al Udeid Air Base Pride Month coordinator. "Pride month is a spoke - diversity we know encompasses a multitude of traits sexual orientation and gender identity are just two of them."

During LGBTQ Pride month, the military celebrates their rich diversity and renews the enduring commitment to equality.

"Our country's motto, E Pluribus Unum, denoted the core difference we have as a nation against all others," adds Hayes- Raugh. " While other states are united and organized along ethnic, religious, or cultural lines, the United States is comprised of a tapestry of individuals and beliefs. Rather than these differences being repressed or marginalized, they help us be distinctly unique when compared to the rest of the world. Our openness to diverse thought, experiences, and viewpoints proves to be a critical component in our ability to progress, adapt, and accomplish as a society and nation."

For some people LBGTQ Pride Month isn't a big thing, or something to celebrate at all. However, for those who have gone through that journey of discovery, this is a win for national recognition and validity.

"I see Americans of every party, every background, every faith who believe that we are stronger together: black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; young, old; gay, straight; men, women, folks with disabilities, all pledging allegiance under the same proud flag to this big, bold country that we love. That’s what I see. That’s the America I know!" - Former president Barack Obama'

 AUAB is hosting a variety of events to celebrate pride including a panel to discuss and learn about the history and origins of the month and a 5-kilometer run on June 28.