Gay pride celebration held at the Pentagon
Less than a year ago, coming out of the closet could get servicemembers kicked out of the military.
Tuesday, the Department of Defense honored its gay and lesbian servicemembers at the Pentagon.
While the colorful costumes and music typically associated with such events wasn't present, the emotions evoked at the lowkey gay pride event matched those of the traditional parades and celebrations.
Naval Lt. Kevin Naughton said, "I did get teary eyed. It's exciting."
The event was the first time in history a celebration of gay pride was held within the Pentagon's walls.
"I never thought I'd be in the Pentagon for an LGBT event. This was amazing," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Bee with the U.S. Air Force.
A series of speakers recounted the fight to get to this point.
The event comes 10 months after "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed, allowing gay and lesbian servicemembers to serve openly in the U.S. military.
After nearly a year, the Pentagon says more than 70 percent of military personnel surveyed say coming out has not made a difference within the ranks.
U.S. Air Force member Sea Airmen Orlando Arroyo-Vega added, "I thought there would be bashing and discrimination...to be honest, it's been very impressive."
Despite today's event being held in an auditorium in the basement of the Pentagon, and the defense secretary appearing on video and not in person, many say it was still history in the making.
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