Diversity makes us stronger

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Carlos Barter
  • 90th Missile Wing Equal Opportunity
The month of June provides the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to this country. LGBT Pride Month is a time where proponents celebrate progress and take action to further increase equality, but its origins derive from an act of discrimination.

Widely considered to be the most important event in the gay liberation movement, the Stonewall Riots erupted in the streets of New York City 45 years ago to protest a police raid on a local gay establishment. The following six days of protests were a rallying cry to all LGBT supporters and gave rise to the establishment of gay rights groups in all major cities throughout the United States.

This month is a source of pride for many and as Airman in the United States Air Force it is important for us to understand how diversity in our ranks improves our ability to accomplish all of our missions.

Sexual orientation is a personal and private matter. People whose sexual orientation is different than yours should not be ridiculed, talked about or criticized. At the end of the day, they are people who serve alongside us in our great Air Force and have taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Rather than just focusing on someone's sexual orientation, try making a conscious effort to get to know the person. All service members, regardless of sexual orientation, are entitled to an environment free from personal, social or institutional barriers that prevents them from rising to the highest level or responsibility possible. Harassment or abuse based on sexual orientation is not only unacceptable, but it erodes camaraderie and ultimately impacts mission accomplishment.

The Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said, "Our nation has always benefited from the service of gay and lesbian Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Marines. Now they can serve openly, with full honors, integrity and respect. This makes our military and our nation stronger, much stronger."

As Airmen on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, we need to internalize these words. In order for us to do the nuclear deterrent operations mission effectively, we must provide our fellow Airmen with an environment free of sexual assault, religious intolerance and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Any level of harassment or abuse based on another's sexual orientation is unacceptable and should not be tolerated in our organization. Members of the LGBT community serving in the military deserve the same level of respect and admiration given to all who have made sacrifices for our country. It is in this month that we, as Airmen, celebrate the accomplishments of the LGBT community and their contributions to our United States Air Force.

For additional information, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office at 773-6060.