LGBT Pride Month: How Hanscom is celebrating

  • Published
  • By James Foley
  • LGBT Pride Month Committee
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month committee will host observances and activities here throughout June to recognize the contributions made by the LGBT community.

The activities planned include a barbecue with lawn games, a color run and more in celebration of the Air Force's rich diversity and enduring commitment to equality.

Pride Month events on base

Some of the activities that Hanscom's LGBT Pride Month committee will host include: 

A fundraiser car wash is scheduled June 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas station to offset the costs of other events scheduled throughout the month. Car washes are donation-based.

A Pride Month color run will be held June 22 at 3 p.m. at the Tennis Bubble. All are welcome to participate. According to organizers, this 5K fun run is a great way to get fit and show support to the LGBT community - plus, you'll even get free sunglasses. Pride Month shirts will be available for $10, and markers will be provided so you can customize your shirt to show your unique colors.

A Pride Month barbecue is scheduled June 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at Castle Park. In addition to lawn games, speakers will provide educational talks.

The Pride Month festivities will conclude June 24 from 3 to 5 p.m. during a free family bowling night at Hanscom Lanes.

LGBT in the defense community

Our nation was founded on the principle that the individual has infinite dignity and worth. The Department of Defense, which exists to keep the nation secure and at peace, must always be guided by this principle.

In June of 2000, President Bill Clinton established the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Month with a proclamation that remembered the Stonewall Riots in 1969. June 1969 was marked in history 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 the monthlong observance to include the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in 2009. In a 2015 statement, Obama 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 military race relations instructor who served three-tours in Vietnam earning the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, was the first gay service member to purposely out himself. His efforts to serve in the U.S. Air Force after coming out were featured in Time magazine on Sept. 8, 1975. His efforts made him a symbol of hope 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.

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

For more information about Hanscom's Pride Month activities, contact Senior Airman Giovanny Pino at 781-225-5521.