LGBTQ+ Pride Month
What PRIDE means to me
By: Maj. David M. Schonberg
This year, PRIDE means more to me than ever. I think it's more important than ever for those of us who have been marginalized and oppressed in the past to stand up and be seen, be heard, and claim the rights that we currently enjoy under the law.
I joined the military in 2006, under Don't Ask Don't Tell. There was so much fear and worry, and I never dreamed of serving openly. Now fast forward to today: a dear friend and mentor, who's also a Brig Gen, text me on June 1st and wished a happy pride month to me and my husband! I'm really grateful for how things have progressed in the Service.
I'm thankful that my experience is that I have had supportive, inclusive, and respectful leadership and peers throughout nearly all of my career. I feel like I have every chance and opportunity to be successful just like any other Service member who works hard and tries their best.
Oh listen -- if someone has it in their heart to serve their country but has some hesitation because of being LGBTQ+, I would say to them: I get it. I understand and I've been there. My experience though is that you can trust the Air Force and the people in it. They could reach out to me if they wanted to talk or have specific questions. But in all seriousness: joining the Air National Guard has been one of the best decisions of my life!
PRIDE month is so much more than the parades and parties. It's about being extra intentional, overly-abundantly-perfectly clear that LGBTQ+ people matter, that we belong, and that our lives are best lived openly with those we love. It's for the closeted young person who is scared because they're just starting to realize they're different. It's for the conservative mom who worries at night whether or not her trans-daughter will be accepted, and it's for the allies who want to ensure that their kids have a world that will love and accept them for who they are, regardless of who they love or how they identify. PRIDE is for all of us!
Major Schonberg is the military personnel management officer for Headquarters, D.C. Air National Guard