Pride Month begins at Hanscom

Pride Month begins at Hanscom

Col. Roman Hund, installation commander, signs a proclamation to recognize June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., May 31, while Hanscom senior leaders and members of the committee, including 2nd Lt. Meredith Garrett, third from right, the committee chair, looks on. This monthlong observance seeks to raise awareness and increase understanding of the LGBT community and its service to the nation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Linda LaBonte Britt)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- People can celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in June as Hanscom hosts educational, social and for-fun events to honor the LGBT community.

The theme of Hanscom’s LGBT Pride Month is “Successes, Challenges and the Road Ahead.”

The monthlong observance began May 31 with Col. Roman Hund, installation commander, signing a proclamation officially kicking off Pride Month.

Pride Month events on base

Hanscom will host a number of events throughout June for the community to enjoy.

The Association of Old Crows will host a reception June 21 at 3 p.m. at the Base Theater, preceding a 3:30 p.m. screening of the film, “Love, Simon.”

Immediately following the movie, a panel will discuss the film and the importance of diversity representation in popular culture.

A Pride Month Run/Walk will take place June 26 at 7 a.m. at Castle Park. All members of the Hanscom community are welcome to participate.

LGBT in the defense community

In June of 2000, President William Clinton established the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month with Proclamation no. 7316 in honor of the June 1969 Stonewall Riots. June was chosen because it was when supporters of the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York, resisted police LGBT harassment, sparking the gay rights movement in the United States.

President Barack Obama expanded Pride Month to include the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in 2009.

In a 2015 statement, he said, “We continue our work to build a society where every child grows up knowing that their country supports them, is proud of them, and has a place for them exactly as they are.”

The LGBT community also has deep roots in the Air Force and other military branches. Tech. Sgt. Leonard P. Matlovich, a three-tour Vietnam War veteran, military race relations instructor, and Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, was the first gay service member to purposely out himself. His efforts to serve in the U.S. Air Force after coming out made it to the cover of Time Magazine on Sept. 8, 1975, making him a symbol for gay and lesbian service members.

Gilbert Baker, an artist and designer of the gay pride flag, served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1972. After his honorable discharge from the military, he created the rainbow flag with six colored stripes to symbolize life, healing, sunlight, nature, serenity and spirit.

On Dec. 22, 2010, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal Act became law, giving LGB service members the confidence to serve with pride.

Army Reserve officer Col. Tammy Smith was promoted to brigadier general in 2012. She publicly acknowledged her sexuality, making her the first general officer to come out while serving.

Local LGBT Community Events

Pride week will take place in Boston this year June 2 through 11. Visit www.bostonpride.org for more information and a calendar of events.

Learning more about LGBT

Each Pride Month event at Hanscom and in the local community strives to celebrate and educate. For those interested in learning more, or to find out how you can help with future events, attend one of the planned events.