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One team one fight, a time to recognize all

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month is held to recognize the impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals have had in history. It is also a time to identify and reflect upon the progress that we as a nation have accomplished in our pursuit for civil equality.

Recorded in Gen. George Washington’s ‘General Orders, March 14, 1778, Lieutenant Gotthold Frederick Enslin had been General Court Martialed and dismissed of service for “attempting to commit sodomy. . . Abhorrence & Detestation of such Infamous Crimes.” Lieutenant Enslin was “to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.”

This writing depicts an enthusiastic display of reprimand which demonstrates the attitude of the time regarding perceptions of those regarded as associated to LGBT.

With America modernizing and establishing its identity, the LGBT community began developing its voice. Known as the Stonewall riots, June 28, 1969, a police raid in the Stonewall Inn on Manhattan, New York City, served as a catalyst for the flashpoint event that inspired the LGBT community to galvanize against the pressures of 1960’s conservative America.

The Stonewall riots became a symbol of resistance and solidarity for the LGBT community, giving strength to those individuals willing to openly confront the social and political discriminations experienced of their time.

In the case of Matlovich v. Secretary of the Air Force, July 16, 1976, Tech. Sgt. Leonard Matlovich who openly admitted his sexual identity was discharged from the U.S. Air Force due to anti-gay policy enforced at the time. His appeal to the court challenged the decision on constitutional grounds granting some victory by allowing for an honorable discharge.

Progress for the LGBT community has been slow, and similarly with the U.S. military. A compromise with the changing attitudes of the times with the establishment of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Nov. 30, 1993, attempted to alleviate the pressures of contention regarding matters of sexual identity.

Counter to the intent of the Stonewall riots, to allow for open confrontation of social and political discriminations DADT was found unconstitutional, Sept. 10, 2010, and in violation of the First and Fifth Amendment rights of homosexuals. Shortly following, DADT was repealed, Dec. 22, 2010, allowing for the free individual expression of LGBT within U.S. military.

Even today the LGBT community continues to press on toward equality. Under the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Department of Defense Instruction 1300.28 In-Service Transition for Transgender Service Member, was published and effective starting Oct. 1, 2016. This document, “establishes a construct by which transgender Service members may transition gender while serving” and clarifies the DoD’s stance on responsibilities expected by military departments stated therein. The official issue of DoD Instruction 1300.28 represents an explicit acknowledgment of changing attitudes towards the LGBT community.

In observance of this month, we as a military community are offered the opportunity to recognize the impact our LGBT members have brought to our great nation, to give thanks and understand the continual struggle towards civil equality in both military and civilian life.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui