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    Harpers Ferry Celebrates LGBTQ Pride Month

    USS Harpers Ferry Celebrates Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Danielle Baker | 190628-N-HD110-0092 GULF OF ADEN (June 28, 2019) U.S. Navy Cmdr. Janice Pollard,...... read more read more

    GULF OF ADEN – U.S. Navy Sailors and U.S. Marines aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) gathered to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride month with a ceremony June 28, 2019.

    June is the nationally recognized month for LGBTQ Pride in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Manhattan, New York.

    On June 2, 2000, President Bill Clinton issued a proclamation recognizing June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. The Department of Defense memo signed May 13, 2014, officially recognizes Pride month for the armed forces to highlight the contributions of LGBTQ military and civilian members.

    The ceremony started off with a Pride speech given by U.S. Navy Yeoman Seaman Kavonne Crayton.

    “The celebration of Pride is to be confident in your own skin and to support others that need a friend,” said Crayton. “It’s to bring awareness to the circumstances and have integrity to fight for what’s right and to have courage to bring love in a world so full of hate.”

    Crayton also said it’s a blessing to be in a time so accepting of her identification and connecting with others who share a similar aspect of life in a celebratory manner.

    The guest speaker, U.S. Navy Lt. Nicholas Schwartz, shared his own experience being apart of the LGBTQ community.

    “I was openly gay the entire time I’ve served in the military,” said Schwartz. “I brought my boyfriend, now husband, to my first wardroom function, the command Christmas party, and no one really cared. At the same time when ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was repealed, I was on my fifth deployment in 5th Fleet. It was a big deal because we were no longer treated like second class citizens, and it meant that my boyfriend and I could finally get married. That was a huge deal for us. At the same time it wasn’t a big deal because nothing changed with my job, my friends, or my life on the ship.”

    At the end of the ceremony, Cmdr. Janice Pollard, commanding officer of the Harpers Ferry said some final words.

    “I think it’s really important that we as a crew come together and celebrate these things,” said Pollard. “A lot of times folks think that the Navy’s take on diversity in celebrating something different every month and by focusing on differences separates us even more, but I think that’s not true. When you can respect, appreciate and learn something new about every single person and what makes us different, I think it really brings you closer because of the understanding and appreciation for taking a moment to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It brings us all closer together.”

    Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.



    Date Taken: 06.28.2019
    Date Posted: 06.29.2019 13:43
    Story ID: 329780
    Location: GULF OF ADEN

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