Throughout an Airman’s career, the “total person concept” is held as the pinnacle of what an Airman can be, not just for professional development, but also for personal resiliency. For gay, lesbian and bisexual Airmen, the possibility of being a total person was only recently made possible. Continue reading
Perhaps the phrase “have pride in your uniform” evokes flashbacks of basic training or a particularly exacting first sergeant, but in the spirit of National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, I think we can look at this phrase in new light.
I have to say, I’m proud of my nation, my President, my Air Force and my colleagues, for giving us the current state of LGBT rights in the United States. As a bisexual service member, being able to put on my uniform and live the core values of integrity, service and excellence to their truest meaning has instilled immeasurable pride in wearing that uniform. The past year has seen some significant changes to LGBT rights as a whole, but no change has been more pivotal to those of us serving in the armed forces than the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” last September.
More than 4,500 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from around the world descended on Harajuku, Tokyo, for the inaugural Tokyo Rainbow Pride, themed “Power of Rainbow,” on April 29. Not just a first for Tokyo, this marked the first pride event where members of OutServe – Japan could participate openly following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Continue reading
It’s a common misconception that photos just fall from the sky. It’s not that people believe in some magic photo fairy (no pun intended), just that few people really think about how the photo happened. When you see a terrifying photo of war or other dangers, rarely would you think “oh yeah, someone had to be on the other end of that camera pushing the shutter release.” As bad as the people in a photo have it, there was a photographer experiencing the same thing, only with 20 pounds of photo gear on their back. Continue reading
I’m mildly surprised, but I only found out about this holiday a couple days ago by accident. I was never much of an activist in the LGBT community or got myself too much into the pride celebrations until this past year. I guess I was so entrenched in DADT that I didn’t let myself give in to the hope that I’d ever be allowed to celebrate that part of me. Even now, the idea seems a bit foreign.
And yet, here I am, bisexual and proud (okay, so maybe still working on the pride part, but I’m getting there). Despite the holiday being anticlimactic after the repeal of DADT less than a month ago, I have to say that the greatest thing to celebrate on this day is normalcy. The sheer fact that I’m sitting on my couch, on a military base, writing a blog about coming out on my iPad, is such a blissful form of normal that it’s hard to describe.
So here’s to normalcy, to the status quo, to the redefinition of the American dream. To my fellow LGBT servicemembers, welcome to life as it should be. To those of you still afraid to look into the mirror, or to open your true self to the world, know that there are people in this world who love you and support you and you don’t have to live in fear. Dare to live, to dream, to love, unburdened by social paradigms, and find the beauty inside your own heart.
Happy National Coming Out Day.
It’s been about two and a half weeks since the policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed. The hype has died down and the festivities have subsided, so now I find myself looking back into the mirror again; I’m not sure I recognize what I see. Continue reading
In the past week and a half, coming out and talking to people openly has brought something into sharp focus: most people really don’t understand the significance of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal on Sept. 20. While it’s true nothing really changed about who we are and what we do in the military, it still makes a world of difference for those of us who had to hide under the old policy.
So, here’s the story of my life – the hidden story that might explain exuberance of those liberated by the DADT repeal, myself included.
To quote singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a-changing.” We are in a position where the military paradigm is in a constant state of flux and the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is no different. Independent voices have been raised that this uncertain new element in our military will ultimately hurt our readiness and cohesion.
To that argument, I must disagree whole-heartedly. It is, and has always been, the greatest strength of the American military to adapt to change and capitalize on new capabilities provided by those changes. Continue reading