CFAS celebrates LGBT Pride Month
SASEBO, Japan – Sailors assigned to Commander Fleet Activities Sasebo (CFAS), USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Pride Month June 27.
The event was designed to celebrate the diversity of the Sailors that are forward deployed to Sasebo and was sponsored by the Sasebo Multicultural Committee (SMCC).
“This particular event applies to my life and I’m glad that I’m able to display that,” said Personnel Specialist 3rd Class Steve Langford. “I think that all people should celebrate individuality in the military. As long as you’re willing to fight for the nation you should be accepted.”
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (handling) Airman Sean Spence said he was glad to have a place like Sasebo to call his home and to have the support of the community.
“It feels good that people are willing to come out here and support me and my friends and I’m glad I live here,” said Spence. “I think the best part is just the more we’re acknowledged the more we’re accepted and seen as just Sailors.”
Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Cory Marks said that the celebration was a way to unite the Sailors of CFAS and tenant commands.
“We’re here to bring everybody closer together as a family because that’s what we are,” said Marks. “I think everybody should work together as one team and that’s what Sasebo Multicultural Committee is trying to do, unite the Sailors.”
The SMCC sponsored event was the first LGBT Pride Month celebration to take place at CFAS.
"This inaugural celebration held here at CFAS during LGBT Pride Month shows just how far we've progressed as a nation,” said Capt. Charles Rock, commanding officer of CFAS. “Our military and our country benefit immensely by being inclusive of all who want to serve, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Diversity is what makes our Navy world-class."
Spence thought that the biggest take away from the event was that everyone was gathered to celebrate diversity.
“We’re not just here because we’re members of the LGBT community,” said Spence. “We’re here to show how far we’ve come and that we’re just here to be accepted as members of society.”
The Department of Defense and the Office of Diversity Management have added LGBT Pride Month as an annual observance to be celebrated by military and civilian members of the U.S. Armed Forces. During the month of June, all DOD personnel are encouraged to recognize the accomplishments of all members of its workforce and what this group of individuals has helped achieve by their service to the nation.