Gay Pride, Military Style
The end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has opened many doors – and no shortage of closets. As the U.S. military successfully implements the nondiscrimination policy, one of the country’s oldest military schools is celebrating gay pride in a big way – with a full week of events.
You may have never heard of Vermont’s Norwich University – though it is the birth place of the oldest ROTC program in the country – but you will not soon forget it. The school is holding one of the first LGBT proms this week, as well as a slew of gay-themed events in honor of gay pride thanks to the school’s inclusive NULGBTQA group which was founded on the day of DADT’s repeal last year.
“The purpose of this event is to express and demonstrate equality throughout the Norwich community, along with the public, in order to promote membership in the NULGBTQA and to educate the public on challenges and issues faced by members of the LGBT community,” says Joshua Fontanez, NULGBTQA’s president and a senior member of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets.
Highlights of the week include a keynote address by Army Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and remarks by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin at Norwich’s first-ever Queer Prom on March 31. There will be six days of events in total, a day for each color of the LGBT flag with each color representing a LGBT issue or theme, such as red for AIDS awareness and green for allies.
“The NULGBTQA is the first ever LGBT Club on a military campus, and we have had local, statewide, and national attention from members of West Point; the Governor of Maryland; the Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Outright Vermont,” Fontanez says. “Departments across campus and myriad members of the Norwich Community are coming together in order to help create Pride Week, free for all.”