US military allowed to wear uniforms at gay pride
Gay and lesbian members of the military will be able to show their pride at San Diego
The US military have for the first time allowed gay men and women to wear their uniforms at Pride, an unthinkable act nine months ago.
Permission was granted the Gay Pride Parade in San Diego, California, on Saturday (21 July).
San Diego Pride Executive Director Dwayne Crenshaw called it a historic moment.
He said: ‘San Diego Pride is honored to have the privilege of celebrating our country and our service members with dignity and respect.
‘The fight for equality is not over, and it is not easy, but this is a giant leap in the right direction.’
A military wide memo from the Pentagon comes after the 18 year long ban on gays and lesbians serving openly.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Rene Bardorf said: ‘Based on our current knowledge of the event and current policies, we hereby are granting approval for service members in uniform to participate in this year’s parade.’
In previous years, personnel have worn t-shirts to show their military pride.
Count Army Spec. Brenna Saldana told U-T San Diego she will be attending the 150,000 strong event, and proud to be wearing her uniform.
She said: ‘No one gets deployed in just a T-shirt. No one gets to fight for our country in just a T-shirt. No one is recognized as an American service member as easily in a T-shirt.
‘We’re loud and proud, and I think these uniforms are very loud and allow us to be very proud.’
Last year, Saldana felt she had the weight ‘of everyone who has ever lived and served a gay service member’ on her shoulders. On Saturday, the sense of purpose will only be stronger.
She said: ‘If all of this was happening right before I was about to sign my contract, I would be so jazzed, especially as a lesbian soldier.
‘Not only are these people fighting for our country and for our freedom, but they’re fighting for their own basic civil rights, and that just shows me that a soldier is a fighter through and through.
‘It doesn’t matter what the mission, what the task, what the fight.’