JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Brooke Army Medical Center held an “Educate the Force” Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month observance June 29 at the Fort Sam Houston Theater.
The observance featured a guest speaker and an LGBT panel that included active and retired service members and a military spouse.
“I’m a true believer that diversity is the strength of our nation and our military,” said BAMC commanding general Brig. Gen. George Appenzeller. “What I see are dog tags, and they might all be a little different, but all say the exact same thing: commitment to the American people, our Constitution and our nation.”
LGBT Americans serve and make sacrifices alongside other military members, noted Rev. Naomi Brown, vice chair of the San Antonio Pride Center and current director of training and education.
“It is our duty to support our military and to ensure that the men and women in uniform are able to perform to the best of their abilities,” Brown said.
During the LGBT panel, Sgt. 1st Class Richard Washington asked the panel if they thought society’s gender roles play a part in their relationships.
Craig Wymer, an Army spouse, said the conversations he and his husband have as a married couple aren’t any different than a straight couple. As with all couples, he said they talk about who will be home in time for dinner and who should take the trash out.
The panel also highlighted resources for LGBT service members and their families, many of which are listed on the Pride Center’s website at http://www.pridecentersa.org.
BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Oates noted the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect.
“What matters is as a Soldier, if I’m downrange, I don’t care what your sexual orientation or preference is. I just want you to have my back if I get in trouble,” Oates said.
“I hope you all will continue to share your stories and educate those that are uneducated about Pride Month,” he said.