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HAFB to celebrate Pride month

For what is reportedly the first time on a military base on U.S. soil, Hill Air Force Base is making preparations for events to celebrate Pride month in June. They have launched a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe to help cover the cost of this event. Utah Pride has reportedly donated to this event to help them move forward.

Colleen Mewing of Marriage Equality USA, also employed by a military contractor on the base, is volunteering on the planning committee for Pride events. So far, those events include a community fair, June 11, Pride Night, June 21, and a Keynote Luncheon, June 24.

Marriage Equality USA, Utah Pride Center, Family Acceptance Project, PFLAG, and Restore Our Humanity are currently slated to participate in the community fair. Pride Night will be a variety-type program featuring local artists Tami Porter-Jones, Monique Lanier and Mary Tebbs. The keynote address will be delivered by Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who underwent gender reassignment after leaving the Navy.

The Pride Month C0mmittee Chair at HAFB, Master Sgt. Terry Gilbert, explained that Pride month is a Department of Defense-recognized observance, as directed in 2012 by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Gilbert noted that HAFB was not singled out to recognize Pride Month, but rather this was undertaken by a volunteer committee to “ensure the challenges and achievements of all LGBT military members and DoD civilians were recognized equally alongside the challenges and achievements of all DoD personnel.

Gilbert further stated, in response to a question as to whether events would be open to the public, that the events will be “geared toward the service members and civilian employees assigned to HAFB. However, this month of recognition would not be possible without the contributions of the LGBT community of the greater Salt Lake area.” Presumably, this means only those with base access will be able to participate in the events.

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