A group composed of former and active-duty service members, led by former Navy operations specialist Sean Sala, is set to attend the Gay Pride March in San Diego on July 15.
The Navy Times shared how the repeal of the policy that came to be known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” prompted Sala to go public with his sexual orientation. He calls it his “Rosa Parks moment.” Now, he is taking things a step further and is bringing together other service members and former service members to lead a gay pride parade.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which represents gay and lesbian active-duty military personnel, however, warned Sala as well as other service members that it may still be risky to come out in the open about their sexual orientation, at least while the policy is still on the books.
SLDN spokesman Zeke Stokes shared: “We communicated to him that anyone who participates is assuming a certain level of risk… We are looking forward to a time when LGBT service members can participate in these kinds of actions without any risk.”
Sala pointed out, however, that it may be time for the gay and lesbian community to “stop hiding in fear.”
One of those who intend to participate in the March is 21-year old Cpl. Jaime Rincon, a Camp Pendleton Marine, who shared: “Finally someone is stepping up to the plate, someone has said: ‘We’re done hiding. Let’s do something about this. Let’s show everybody we’re proud of who we are and we’re proud of our branches of service.”