San Diego Pride officials have announced that active duty servicemembers have approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and their commanding officers to march in the America’s Pride Parade Military Contingent while wearing their uniforms. Veterans have long been allowed to wear their uniforms and now their active duty brothers and sisters will be able to march in uniform alongside them with Pride.
In a videotaped message released in June, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated: “Before the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself. And now—after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform.”
In 2011, San Diego made global news as being the first city in the United States to have an active duty military contingent in a Pride Parade. With the theme of America’s Pride, San Diego Pride is looking to continue to break exciting new ground and push forward on issues of equality.
“The promise of America grounded in the Constitution, contained in our Pledge of Allegiance, inscribed on the Statue of Liberty and enunciated by generations of our nation’s leaders is that America stands for liberty, for justice, for equality for all. This has been America’s Pride,” announced Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride.
Parade organizers are hopeful that those who have feared coming to share in the joy of Pride out of concern for losing their military careers will be able to finally celebrate their full and complete selves at America’s Pride in San Diego July 20 – 22, 2012. So far there are over 300 individuals signed up for this one contingent.
“We look forward to a fun, fantastic celebration here in San Diego of the advances in LGBT equality from the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ We are excited about fusing the fundamental values of LGBT Pride with ideals of American Pride. We welcome everyone across this country to join us in San Diego for a celebration of America’s Pride and to help us focus attention and raise awareness of the need for our nation to fulfill its promise of ‘liberty and justice for all,’ ” concluded Crenshaw.
Servicemembers wanting to walk in the military contingent can register here.
Registration guarantees a spot in the Military Contingent of America’s Pride Parade and includes a branch specific military t-shirt.