JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md --
The 113th Wing and the 11th Security Forces Squadron are scheduled to host multiple events here for LGBT Pride Month throughout the month of June.
“We have a lot of members, not only in the Air Force but in the Department of Defense as a whole, who identify as LGBT and do a great number of things for us every day,” said 2nd Lt. Brian Sanks, 113th Logistics Readiness Squadron officer in charge of material management. “Pride month is about observing those contributions and taking the time to say that we appreciate what they do.”
The first event of the month will be the “Power of Diversity” luncheon, scheduled for June 20 at 11 a.m. at The Club at Andrews. Transgender activist/service member Staff Sgt. Miranda Cato will speak at the event. The lunch will be buffet style and will cost $15.
On June 29, an awareness panel is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 113th Wing auditorium (Building 3252). The panel will comprise of representatives from mental health, family health, infectious disease clinic, equal opportunity, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the American Military Partner Association, along with multiple LGBT service members. Attendees will learn about resources available to LGBT service members and be invited to participate in an anonymous question-and-answer session. Free pizza will be provided for lunch.
Staff Sgt. Richard Hellen, 11th SFS elite gate guard section element leader, said that pride month gives the LGBT community an excellent opportunity to learn and grow.
“Since the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was rescinded, service members don’t really seem to know what resources are out there,” Hellen said. “We really wanted to highlight organizations that have resources available to help LGBT members.”
Sanks and Hellen both made it a point to highlight that the events are not just for LGBT members, but for anyone who wants to learn more.
“If I could educate one person on the LGBT community and the threats we face, we will have done our job,” Hellen said. “I am sure that if you saw me walking down the street you would know that I am a part of the African American community. However, it’s difficult to determine who is a member of the LGBT community without taking the time to get to know them. This month gives us the opportunity to do just that.”
Sign up for the “Power of Diversity” luncheon and the LGBT Awareness Panel. Any additional questions may be forwarded to 301-981-4647.