Icemen show their colors during LGBT Pride Month kick off
By Senior Airman Ashley Nicole Taylor, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 06, 2014
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Members of the Icemen team made history at the Base Exchange June 2 when family and friends gathered to kick off the first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.
Signed into law as a month-long observance by President Barack Obama, the event celebrates the history and advancement of LGBT Pride and the victories made in freedom and fairness.
"Let us honor every brave leader who stood up, sat in, and came out, as well as the allies who supported them along the way," wrote Obama. "Following their example, let each of us speak for tolerance, justice, and dignity - because if hearts and minds continue to change over time, laws will too."
Maj. Mickey Jordan, 354th Communications Squadron commander, gave opening remarks at the ceremony reflecting on how monumental celebrating LGBT Pride Month is to the wing.
"If we think about where we were in the Air Force just three years ago today, wow what a difference a couple of years have made. If I had to think about the fabric and culture in the Air Force and what it meant to be gay three years ago I'd have to use the words fear, paranoia and definitely isolation," said Jordan. "But three years later, here today we stand with friends, family members, peers, allies and everyone here so now we can say it's about dignity and mutual respect and those are the qualities that make our Air Force great."
The LGBT Pride committee meets every Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the 354th Fighter Wing conference room and encourages all Icemen and their families to attend.
"Our main goal as the first LGBT Pride committee is to establish the right way to go about celebrating being gay. We don't want to offend anyone; we want to educate people on a segment of society that has previously been concealed," said 1st Lt. Shaina Thompson, 354th Fighter Wing chief of protocol. "This isn't something that people have been comfortable to talk about before, but we are glad to finally have these conversations."
Many members from the committee attended the event, handed out flyers detailing information about LGBT Pride Month and engaged with the audience after the proclamation was read.
"It's pretty important being on the committee the first time it's ever happened here. In a way it's nerve-wracking standing in front of everyone feeling like you're exposed," said Airman 1st Class Celeste Smith, 354th Comptroller Squadron customer service technician. "I think the younger crowd seems more accepting about what we stand for, but everyone will come around eventually on their own terms."
The LGBT Pride committee is open to everyone regardless of sexual orientation and has different events planned throughout the month including a Lunch and Learn June 10 at 11:20 a.m. at the Base Chapel and a 5k Fun Run June 20 at 8 a.m., location to be determined.
"I joined the committee because I know a lot of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, but I didn't particularly know a lot about this subject. It seemed like the right thing to do was learn from people who live their lives like it," said Staff Sgt. Jacob Worden, 354th CPTS financial analysis technician. "Since sitting in on the meetings, I've learned to realize the vastness of differences that LGBT month covers and that bringing awareness to others about this subject is so important to everyone in the LGBT community."
For more information on LGBT Pride Month, email 1st Lt. Shaina Thompson or talk with any LGBT Pride committee member.