144th FW recognizes Pride Month 2022

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  • 144th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 144th Fighter Wing were asked “What does ‘All Together’ mean to you?” in commemoration and observance of this year’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The focus theme of this year’s U.S. Department of Defense pride month campaign is ‘All Together.’ Members anonymously submitted their responses to the 144th FW Diversity and Inclusion Council. The following quotes are a few of their submissions:

“Everyone, not whatever ‘label’ you want to put on someone, but everyone is in this Air Force ‘All Together.’ Diversity and inclusion is the name of the game. If you forget that, you’re already missing out on some amazing, talented, innovative, courageous sisters and brothers in arms. We all bring something to the table. Let us remember that.”

“All Together means family. We are one big military ‘ohana’. We can all admit that Stitch [from “Lilo & Stitch”] said it best: ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’ Pride is so much more than rainbows and parades. Pride is about acceptance and love. There are those around us who may be struggling with self-identity and this is our chance to let them know that it is ‘okay’ and that we will still be a family no matter what.”

“Having struggled with my self-identity, the phrase ‘All Together’ holds special significance to me. All together means that I am not alone. It reminds me of the overwhelming support and acceptance I received when I decided to come out to my peers. Pride is about unapologetically embracing who you are and living your truth. It’s about showing up and saying, ‘THIS IS WHO I AM.’ My military family was there with me through the thick of it all; the questioning, the doubt, the fear and the shame. They taught me that there is nothing wrong with being me. I owe my true happiness to them.”

“To me, this phrase means that even if we are all completely different and like different things, we are still a part of one team and we are all here for each other. All Together = ALL IN.”

The DoD observes the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. This monthly observance comes a long way and dates back to the 1990’s.

LGBT Pride Month was established in 1994 to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York. The riots are considered to be the turning point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. They are considered to be the most important event leading to the LGBTQ+ liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S.

On June 28, 1969, police raided The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar and recreational tavern. Tensions quickly escalated as patrons and supporters resisted. This was viewed as police harassment and persecution of the LGBTQ+ community. This uprising marked the beginning of a movement to outlaw discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ+ Americans.

Educational organizations in the U.S. led the way of the movement and, in 1994, they designated the first LGBT History Month. In 1995, a resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association included LGBT History Month within a list of commemorative months.

In June 2016, Former President Barack Obama announced the designation of the first national monument to LGBTQ+ rights. The Stonewall National Monument encompasses Christopher Park, The Stonewall Inn, and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the sites of the Stonewall Riots in New York City.

To date, four presidents of the United States have officially declared a pride month. In 1999 and 2000, Former President Bill Clinton declared the month of June as "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month”. In 2011, Former President Obama declared the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month for each year he was in office.

In 2019, Former President Donald Trump became the first Republican president to acknowledge LGBTQ Pride Month through a tweet rather than an official proclamation. In 2021, the current U.S. President, Joe Biden, declared the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

The DoD has observed LGBTQ+ Pride Month since June 2012, one year after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that allowed LGBTQ+ people to serve in the military as long as they did not disclose their sexual orientation.

For more information about DoD observances and related topics, visit https://www.defenseculture.mil/