Team Dover closes out LGBT Pride Month

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The month of June was a time of equality in the Air Force as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month was celebrated here and at other military installations around the world.

On May 13, 2014, President Obama signed a proclamation designating June 2014 as LGBT Pride Month and within the proclamation, called "upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people."

The LGBT Pride Month Committee here, was chaired by Capt. Tiny Cox, 436th Airlift Wing assistant staff judge advocate, along with 12 other Team Dover members and they had a short window to plan the first-ever LGBT Pride Month held here.

"We were given this task to put together events and to honor this month within one month," said Cox. "This however has been a wonderful experience."

The LGBT Pride Month Committee hosted numerous events such as an opening ceremony, HIV AIDS testing, movie night, 2-mile "pride" run, a "Love Not Hate" symposium and closing ceremony.

As master of ceremonies for the closing ceremony, Senior Airman Barry Tuck, 436th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, introduced Senior Master Sgt. (ret.) David Lasher-Pennington as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

"Unity, equality, honor and pride," said Tuck, are traits that LGBT Pride Month and the Air Force stand for.

Tuck also introduced Lasher-Pennington'shusband, Larry Pennington, to those in attendance. The Pennington's are retired and reside in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

"When we met Barry Tuck in Rehoboth Beach, and he told us about your LGBT Pride Month celebration on Dover AFB, I was amazed and encouraged," said Lasher-Pennington. "I couldn't imagine it happening on Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, before I retired almost 22 years ago."

Lasher-Pennington shared his story about being gay in the military and his assignment working on Air Force One for 11 years. He retired from the Air Force in October 1992 after 25 years of service.

He briefly spoke about "Don't ask, don't tell" and its repeal, the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riot at a New York City gay bar, Defense of Marriage Act and the support of same-sex marriages in the United States.

"I will not be invisible to society anymore," said Lasher-Pennington. "Those who can't accept us are getting fewer and fewer, largely because of a history of courageous men and women, who made the choice to stop being invisible."

Tuck and Staff Sgt. Renee Brown-Mosley, 436th AW general law paralegal, presented Lasher-Pennington with a token of appreciation from the committee for sharing his experience as a gay individual in the military.

"Come into the light and celebrate," said Lasher-Pennington. "Authentic visibility can desensitize others."