HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Pride month: Be you, be proud

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- Around the world, LGBT pride is often celebrated with parties, parades, fun and festivities. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and its allies come together in support of equality, freedom and the movement for civil rights. Nowadays, pride events are largely fun-filled, colorful, recreational functions, but what some don't know is that the first LGBT pride demonstration was inspired by a riot against discrimination. It was a forward movement in the struggle toward liberation and fair treatment.

In 1969, in New York's Greenwich Village, the police raided a gay bar, harassing and arresting many of the bar’s patrons, simply for being patrons. Being openly gay was prohibited in many places like New York City. These raids were common, but on this particular evening, the crowd fought back, leading to an intense and violent struggle between the police and the public. The confrontation, known as the Stonewall Riots, lasted for days, leading to the formation of collectives and organizations united in the fight for their right to simply exist in public spaces without being persecuted or attacked.

This struggle has existed and continues to exist within many systems, institutions and environments, including the U.S. military. After years of forced silence and hiding, LGBT service members are finally able to serve openly, thanks to the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 2011. The policy change was a step forward in creating a safe and supportive environment for all service members to be their authentic selves as they work towards their mission.

Some have questioned the necessity or the purpose of the repeal, suggesting that one's sexual orientation or romantic life may not be important or appropriate to share in the workplace in any event. This argument would be valid if the DADT policy was enforced for all members of the U.S. military, but it only directly impacted LGBT members, implying a sense of deviance or "otherness" to members of that community. Moreover, it associated LGBT identities with shame, secrecy and dishonor, forcing these service men and women to keep parts of themselves invisible and unrecognized.

These types of practices can be very harmful, as they influence a stigma, internalized homophobia and self-hate, and various mental health issues. Though things are changing, as new policies and practices have been implemented to reverse and reduce the harm done to LGBT communities by prior discriminatory actions, considerable effort remains to encourage respect and pride for all identities.

Often, societal norms and expectations cloud our ideas of what gender, gender expression and sexuality should be, diminishing our ability to see what actually is and often leading to rude assumptions and insolence. For example, some people want or expect all men to be masculine. Some want women to be sweet and submissive. Some want the spouse of a married person to be of the opposite sex. And some want young boys to only play with trucks and actions figures. In reality, there are so many variations between gender expression and sexual orientation that it is impossible to box these identities into our own narrow limitations of what someone is supposed to do, or should be. Some women are more tough than sweet. Some young boys prefer the color pink and flowers. And some men are married to men.

The point is that there are spectrums or continuums of gender, expression and sexuality that we all fall within somewhere -- there is no "one size fits all." Moreover, no one should be shunned or discriminated against because they do not fall on the spectrum where someone else thinks they should.

We all deserve the space to be ourselves, and to be seen and celebrated. The world provides us with enough space, and hopefully our minds do too, for all identities to develop and exist without consequence or fear. Our differences are all uniquely beautiful and worthy of love. We also unite across these differences, as they allow us to learn from each other, build with one another, and create shared experiences together.

This year's LGBT pride committee encourages everyone to "Be you. Be proud," while encouraging and supporting your fellow Airmen, friends, and family members to do the same. The freedom to exist fully and authentically is a basic human right that we should all practice for ourselves and uphold for those around us. We hope everyone -- all ages, sexual orientations, genders, cultures, and other backgrounds -- will join us in practicing self-love, acceptance and freedom, while celebrating each other with pride and unity.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
DYK: Aircraft have lifespans! Like humans, they require check-ups in the form of maintenance inspections to prolong their ability to fly. These "checks" prevent in-flight system failures which ultimately protects aircrew and passengers. Learn more from the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on what it takes to correct issues so aircraft can stay airborne.
WATCH: United States Air Force pilots talk about the importance of Exercise Saber Strike 18 as they refuel over the Baltic Sea on June 18, 2018. Saber Strike 18 is a long-standing training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and our allies. The training focused on improving land and air operational capabilities between the U.S. and our NATO allies. (U.S. Air National Guard video by: Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf)
Check out some shots from yesterday's All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game in Washington, D.C. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals U.S. Army
Air Force and U.S. Army coed softball teams render military honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2018. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals
Great way to lead by example!
The United States Air Force is facing a pilot shortage. To help solve the challenge, the Aircrew Crisis Task Force was recently created to provide strategic direction and actionable recommendations to senior leaders on how to solve the aircrew manning crisis. FULL STORY: https://go.usa.gov/xUb3z
Your United States Air Force news: ✓ A B-52 crew assists in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Guam ✓ An Afghan pilot class graduates in the Czech Republic ✓ The Air Force is using innovative approaches to training pilots to make the process faster and more efficient
Now that’s how weathermen work! Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris and Tropical Storm Beryl. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1569944/hurricane-hunters-fly-tropical-storms-beryl-chris/
The F-22 Raptor's combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Maintaining these aircraft can involve a bit of a learning curve. Airmen at KadenaAirBase use past technology to help learn how to work with the undefeated Raptor. FULL STORY: http://www.kadena.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1567295/hard-to-raptor-head-around/
Help us out! Can you caption this photo?
The B-52 Stratofortress has sniper pods that provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilize surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Air Force Global Strike Command crew members on a B-52 were able to spot a historic Pacific Island style canoe so that the U.S. Coast Guard could rescue the six passengers!
For the past 60 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has continually helped us maintain a technological edge against our advarsaries. Together with the Air Force Research Laboratory - AFRL, a fusion of ideas is leading to newly highlighted innovations.
SOUND ON! Celebrate freedom with the sound of freedom! Happy Independence Day!
RT @USecAF_Official: Since the first flight as an independent service in 1947, the Air Force has provided our Nation's most responsive and…
RT @DeptofDefense: Today marks 71 years of #AirForce strength in the skies. Happy Birthday to the @USAirForce. #AFBday #AF71 https://t.co/y…
RT @MacDill_AFB: Happy Birthday @usairforce ! 71 years of integrity, excellence and service before self. https://t.co/nNwmbcurNj
RT @USArmyEurope: Happy Birthday to the United States Air Force. The largest most technically advanced air force in the world, supporting #…
RT @USAFHealth: “For 71 years, Airmen have been present at every conflict, disaster, and humanitarian mission providing Trusted Care anytim…
Today we celebrate 71 years as the world's greatest #AIRPOWER! #Birthday #AFBDay https://t.co/VOY8ixMUlO
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: How do you see multi-domain command & control integrating with our allies?… https://t.co/NLJFcJ86bt
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: Where are we today on developing new space operators & where will we be in the ne… https://t.co/a3IGP2gpnt
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: How do you see multi-domain command & control integrating with our allies?… https://t.co/GzyNIWKaWg
RT @AFResearchLab: Our team is showing off how fantastic our booth is this year! So come meet us at #booth601 for knowledge on what we do a…
RT @US_Stratcom: Gen Hyten: “All of our oaths start the same way, we swear an oath to the #Constitution, to a set of ideals written down on…
#ICYMI: @SecAFOfficial discussed the significance of the 70th Anniversary of the #BerlinAirlift during a commemorat… https://t.co/MLP7m1A1d1
.@SecAFOfficial: In his time, Billy Mitchell was the advocate for the #USAF we need. Now it's up to us -- all of us… https://t.co/5nfk096dpw
.@SecAFOfficial: I want to thank all of you for what you are doing to build a more lethal & ready #USAF, to field t… https://t.co/dVv7UUM3RI
.@SecAFOfficial: Over the past 6 months, #USAF acquisition has striped 56 yrs out of planned schedules in our acqui… https://t.co/6FgjTGUeVn
.@SecAFOfficial: By December of this year we will have closed that gap to zero. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: In September of 2016, the #USAF was short 4,000 maintainers. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: We have an obligation to our countrymen. To tell them, as those before us have done in their time,… https://t.co/xYAyI4NPe5