AFMC Command News

Commentary: LGBT Pride visibility

  • Published
  • By Christopher Karns
  • Hill Base Exchange

What does it mean to be normal? For many LGBT people, this question is haunting.

Here in America, we live in a cultural context commonly referred to as heteronormativity. This means that it is expected that everyone you meet is straight and has a desire for, or already has, children. LGBT people on the other hand are often at odds with common cultural milestones due to being excluded from this mindset. Instead of simply being seen as having different goals, LGBT people are treated with distrust and aggression for their inability to connect to these common life goals.

At Hill AFB, our Pride committee led by Staff Sgt. Ashley Basham is driven to show, “Pride All Year Long!” by being a driving force for inclusiveness both on and off base, to make it safe for people in our community to be out and true to themselves. At Hill we also offer the, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Initiative Team led by John Bergstresser and Geng (Leo) Ming. Lastly, but certainly not least, the Hill AFB special observation committees and EEO office drive to celebrate diversity in all forms. 

With all this in mind, the purpose of pride events and LGBT visibility is to challenge the narrative of heteronormativity and to dispel the myths on how rare LGBT people are. Increased visibility of LGBT people and celebration of our accomplishments brings the opportunity to integrate into what is considered “normal” by being seen so often that we become commonplace.

This drive to push America into becoming a post homophobia culture empowers safety in numbers to counter the risks that visibility creates. The people directly making the charge for visibility are aware that by having their names and faces out there, they invite the risk of harm, abuse and even assault. Yet despite these risks, by sharing our stories and being unabashedly us, we bring a spotlight on LGBT experiences and hopefully encourage people still in the closet to keep living. For that reason among others, it is vital to create visibility to live and love loudly and honestly so harm brought to us is seen as attacking American’s first, and queer people second.

In closing, I’d like to address those still in the closet directly. With all my heart, I hope that you will continue to live avstanding tall from the things that keep in the closet, and one day be safe enough to step out and be your true self. There will never be a right time to come out, and you’ll be coming out constantly as new people enter your life, but it is worth it. Without the weight of hyper vigilance over your every action and every word, your passions and joy will blossom. I cannot wait to meet the brilliant shining you, and thank you for still being here.