Openly gay service men and woman will be allowed to wear their uniforms at a Californian Pride march.
For the first time in history, the US military will allow its personnel to wear their uniforms at a gay pride march in California.
Although only a one-off decision made for the parade in San Diego this year, it is still a huge triumph for the openly gay service men and women, who – when marching in the parade last year – were only allowed to wear t-shirts showing the name of their service branch.
Up until last year, gay people couldn’t serve in the US military, with the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ campaign forcing many gay people to choose between their career and their sexuality, or remain in the closet (which was seen as the preferable option). This rule was abolished in September 2011 after a campaign pledge made by President Barack Obama in 2008.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Rene Bardorf issued a statement saying, ‘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’.
US military will be allowed to wear uniforms, such as these ones, to show their dedication to the services in San Diego’s Pride march.
As part of the deal, military personnel taking part in the parade, must do so in a personal capacity only, and also make sure they stick to the organisations high standard of uniform wear.
The executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride was thrilled with the decision, exclaiming, ‘Today is a great day of pride! San Diego Pride is honoured to have the privilege of celebrating our country and our service members with dignity and respect’.
He went on to say that ‘the fight for equality is not over’ but the decision was ‘ a giant leap in the right direction’.
This is another big step for the LGBT community, which continues to close the gap for equality.