Wright-Patterson celebrates Pride Month

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Airmen discuss what observance means to them

The diversity of both civilians and service members throughout the Department of Defense is celebrated in June, more commonly known as Pride Month.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month was chosen to be recognized this month to commemorate the June 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York. The Stonewall Riots became the catalyst for the gay-rights movement in the United States and around the world to achieve equality and opportunities.

For one Airman, the celebration of pride means the freedom to be who he truly is.

“Pride to me is the celebration of authenticity and the freedom to be my true self without any discrimination,” said Staff Sgt. Hayden Ullery-Oatney of the 88th Air Base Wing’s Safety Office. “We recognize and honor all the brave pioneers who have fought for this freedom, and we stand together as a community to continue the fight for equality. Over the past few years of discovering my own identity, this community has become my family and my foundation. Judgment is nonexistent, and love conquers all.”

Staff Sgt. Miyae Franklin said she also has had positive experiences while openly serving.

“I have not felt discriminated against because of my sexuality. I’m glad that today’s military is moving toward acceptance,” said Franklin, NCO in charge of administrative services for the Air and Cyberspace Intelligence Group. “To me, Pride Month is a celebration in which people of all sorts embrace being and loving who they are. It is also a month to remember the hardship that members of the LGBTQ+ community have endured throughout history.”

Events happening around Wright-Patterson AFB in support of Pride Month include:

· Pride Month kickoff – Head out to the Wright-Patt USO on June 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for fellowship, refreshments, music and games to kick off a week of events to celebrate Pride Month. The USO limit is still capped at 35-40 people, but there will be overflow seating on the patio.

· Pride Month guest speaker – Join Illinois House Rep. Marie Newman at 2 p.m. June 23 for a Zoom chat about her experiences with inclusivity and LBGT issues. Meeting ID: 161 706 3366. Passcode: 325077.

· WPAFB Pride 5K fun run/walk – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s LGBTQ Resource Group is hosting a 5K fun run/walk in celebration of Pride Month. The event will take place June 24 at 3 p.m. on Huffman Prairie Flying Field. All WPAFB personnel and their families are welcome to participate. Additional details, including a course map and required free registration, are available at https://pride.dayton.run.

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