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First time in history, U.S. service members march in full uniform at gay pride

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SAN DIEGO — To the cheers of a crowd estimated at over 200,000 spectators — many shouting “Thank you for your service” — for the first time in history on Saturday, members of the United States Armed Forces marched in full uniform in a gay pride parade.

Led by a Marine sergeant wearing her dress blue uniform and bearing the American flag, dozens of soldiers, sailors, and Marines marched alongside an Army truck decorated with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag in the San Diego Pride Parade, joined by dozens more military personnel wearing T-shirts designating their branch of service.

via: San Diego Union Tribune

The military contingent participating in today’s event, dubbed “America’s Pride,” included active duty members and veterans representing the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. The flag bearer, Marine Sgt. Bris Holland, 30, has done two tours in Iraq. Behind her was her 7-year-old son, Kannon, and her partner, Jaxs Jacquez, 30.

“This is history,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer Erica Tello. “Being able to wear our uniforms says that we really are equal, at last.”

Cmdr. Kent Blade, who will retire this fall after 26 years in the Navy, said being able to march in uniform was a perfect culmination of his career. The 47-year-old said that since last year’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, he has received unconditional support from his fellow officers.

“We’ve all been able to talk more freely about our lives. Nobody’s leading a second life,” Blade said. “And now that I can march freely in uniform, I think it’s a great display for the Navy.”

Sean Sala, 27, who left the Navy last year but helped organize the military group, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the significance of this year’s active-duty uniformed participants was bolstered by government approval for the first time.

After several days of indecision at lower levels, a deputy assistant secretary of Defense on Thursday authorized military personnel to wear their uniforms in the San Diego parade, provided they did nothing to bring “discredit” to the service or appear to be making a political statement.

Many of those marching have been deployed to combat zones, and several indicated they have partners who are deployed in Afghanistan, on ships or elsewhere.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. Hooah!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:03pm
  2. This is so exciting! How I wish I could have been there to share this experience with our service personnel. Love & Blessings to All ~

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:04pm
  3. if i had been there with my mate we would have joined in because hes a member of the military

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:06pm
  4. finally

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:09pm
  5. I love it

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:10pm
  6. I cried!! Gods, this was awesome to read!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:14pm
  7. Had me in tears watching!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:17pm
  8. Great!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:26pm
  9. What a wonderful, wonderful thing to be allowed to do. Pride in their uniform, pride in their country and pride in who they are….excellent!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:34pm
  10. This is so damn wonderful, it brought tears to my eyes! It is truly a wonderful, wonderful day indeed!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:53pm
  11. We are glad that the U.S military now supports equality!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 9:07pm
  12. That is so incredibly awesome!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 9:25pm
  13. Totally Awesome!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:13pm
  14. We’ve come so far as a country haven’t we. Makes me proud.

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:38pm
  15. @Samantha Bohm – And yet, we’re still far behind most of the rest of the Western world, and we have soooooooo much further to go. LET’S KEEP THE POSITIVE MOMENTUM!

    Posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:56pm
  16. at last…

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 3:54am
  17. At last is right…… thanks Obama

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 5:24am
  18. This is just so great to finally see!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 6:22am
  19. Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 9:51am
  20. that is soooo awesome!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 9:54am
  21. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 9:58am
  22. hopefully it was/will be peaceful

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 10:05am
  23. About time! We can’t turn back now!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 11:52am
  24. SICK!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 6:35pm
  25. At the NOH8 Campaign photo shoot today in Anaheim, California, I was so honored to meet a young gay male Air Force recruit. He drove all the way to the shoot from Las Vegas, as this campaign is so important to him. He wore his uniform for his photo, with the NOH8 logo on his cheek and duct tape on his mouth. When it was his turn to be photographed, he stood at attention in front of the backdrop, then proudly saluted as multiple photos was taken. It was an emotional moment for the hundreds of people in line, this would not have been possible without the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. So proud to have met this brave young man!

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 1:56am
  26. about time america

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 10:20am
  27. Way to go armed forces.

    Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012 at 12:25pm