GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Staff members at Surface Warfare Officer School Unit (SWOSU) Great Lakes celebrated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month July 11.
More than 50 Sailors gathered to listen as speakers told the history of the struggle for LGBT citizens to gain equal treatment and respect in the United States.
"At SWOSU we pride ourselves in unity and continuously supporting cultures such as LGBT who have fought so long for equal rights," said Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Loveasia Vann, instructor at SWOSU Great Lakes. "We are Sailors 24/7; at this command we show the significance of brotherhood/sisterhood with no regards to sexual orientation. As service members we are ambassadors of equal rights."
June was selected as Pride month to commemorate the events of that month in 1969, known as the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, New York, and was recognized as the catalyst for the Gay Liberation movement in the United States.
The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 created a future pathway to allow the LGBT community to serve in the military. This repeal would only take effect with sufficient certification it would not harm military readiness, followed by a 60-day waiting period. In early 2011, military leaders began issuing training plans for the expected repeal of the ban. A court order on July 6, 2011, required the Pentagon to immediately suspend the ban, which the government complied with. Prohibitions were entirely ended September 2011 after Congress voted to repeal the policy.
"Our Sailors come from all walks of life; we are all unique, yet each of us brings something to what makes our great Navy what it is today," Vann said. "While our military continues to change and work towards making significant steps for equality in the workforce, we still have room to improve. We improve by learning the rules, setting and communicating expectations, and most importantly, treating everyone with dignity and respect. We improve by how we positively interact with and value each other."
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