NEWS | July 9, 2021

Pride in all who serve: Soto Cano Air Base, JTF-Bravo celebrate LGBTQ+ personnel

By Capt. Annabel Monroe Joint Task Force-Bravo, Public Affairs

June concluded Pride Month as service members celebrated the service and commitment of LGBTQ+ personnel in and out of uniform, June 18-25, during pride week.

Pride week events celebrated diversity of the force, and recognized the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for their dedicated service. 

“It was a huge honor and privilege to work alongside so many LGBTQ+ service members and allies toward the common goal of making Soto Cano Air Base’s first-ever pride week happen,” said U.S. Army Capt. Gabriel Beck, headquarters commander with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment. “We had to build the institutional knowledge from the ground up, and that’s always a lot of work, but it was also a lot of fun. We got a lot of buy-in and that’s a tremendously rewarding feeling.”

Events included a cake cutting, a lip-sync contest, movie night at the base theater, a trivia night at the base pool and a brunch in coordination with the Army Support Activity (ASA) Morale, Welfare and Recreation. 

“I was very excited to be a part of the pride events, especially to know there are LQBTQ+ Hondurans who work at Soto Cano Air Base who were able to celebrate their identities for the first time,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Thomas Mitchum, officer-in-charge of logistics material management and fuels with Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B). 

This year’s Department of Defense (DOD) theme was “Respect, dignity and service. Pride in all who serve.”

“Pride, for me in the military context, is celebrating how thankful I am to have found a place in the military family. Many LGBTQ+ service members come from difficult family backgrounds, where they sometimes lack acceptance or support,” said Beck. “I won’t say it’s always been easy in the nine years I’ve been in, but as a rule, I’ve found tremendous camaraderie and belonging in the military that has helped me become more confident in who I am. We’ve come a very long way in the military, and while there’s still tremendous room for improvement, I’m thankful and proud every day to be an LGBTQ+ Soldier and officer.”

In total, approximately 100 personnel across JTF-B, 612th Air Base Squadron and ASA participated in the pride events.

Across the DOD, pride month was celebrated by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and civilian employees.

“That made me proud,” said Mitchum. “I actually felt like my organization had my back and that’s exactly what we need in the military -- to support eachother.”