JBA recognizes LGBT Pride Month
By Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez, 11th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 30, 2017
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month is recognized each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York. According to the library of Congress, the riots were a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the U.S.
“The base celebrates this month to raise awareness of gay culture and promote greater diversity and inclusion of LGBT service members throughout the military,” said Maj. Countess Cooper, 113th Wing staff chaplain.
The pride month is a stance against discrimination and violence toward the LGBT community by promoting equality rights, increasing visibility as a social group, and celebrating sexual diversity and gender variance.
Joint Base Andrews celebrated LGBT Pride Month here with a special observance titled ‘LGBT: I am an American Airman’ that was hosted by the 113th Wing, June 29.
“The LGBT Month observance goal is to educate the community and encourage a supportive, safe and respectful work environment for all service members, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” Cooper said. “During the event we highlighted proud gay service members and hopefully inspired other LGBT individuals who are not yet able to speak up and be known.”
The observance event started off with a special guest speaker, Allyson Robinson, a human rights activist.
“Despite all of the challenges [in the LGBT military community] these eight years, [LGBT members and supporters] have made incredible progress by bringing down the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law,” Robinson said. “However this movement is not just about passing laws and enacting policies; it’s an ongoing journey through struggle and delay to change hearts and minds, and ultimately to change a nation. Let us pledge to a new world where human dignity of all, regardless of their sex, gender, religion, or race, is not only enshrined in the law but is respected in our communities.”
Robinson is a 1994 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She enlisted in the Army in 1988 as a combat medic; later, as an Army officer, she commanded missile units in the U.S., Germany and Saudi Arabia.
During the event, she talked about her life as a military member and her journey during her transition from male to female.
The final activity of the event was a panel discussion. Audience members had the opportunity to hear LGBT service member’s experiences in the military and what inspired them to serve.
This event was the culmination of other informative and celebratory events for LGBT Pride Month, which included volunteering during the District of Colombia Capital Pride Parade and a five kilometer pride run.