Pride History at a Glance

It’s June, and that means Pride Month! What began as a tribute to those involved in the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City has since morphed into a globally recognized month of awareness filled with parades, concerts and festivals celebrating the diversity of the LGBTQ community.  

In the United States, the Department of Defense (and each branch of the military) have not always welcomed LGBT people. Until recently, various official U.S. policies either banned lesbian, gay and bisexual service members outright, or prevented them from serving openly. Thankfully that changed in 2011 with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The transgender ban on military service was finally lifted in 2021. 

Today there are more than 15,000 transgender service members alone, and an estimated 134,000 trans Veterans. With the total number of LGBTQ Military and DoD civilians potentially much higher, there is a definitive need for DoD-focused representation and workplace advocacy. DoD Pride is a non-profit that works hard to fill that role.    

About DoD Pride

DoD Pride is the association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender employees and allies within the Department of Defense. DoD Pride is a 501(c)3 non-profit service organization whose primary purpose is to be an employee resource group for LGBT service members, civilian employees and contractors who work for the Department of Defense, and their family members.

The organization was founded September 20th, 2012, on the one year anniversary of the repeal of the DoD’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring LGBT people from openly serving in the U.S. Military or working for the Department of Defense. 

According to their website, DoD Pride seeks to “advance U.S. national security by ensuring all employees of the Department are treated equally and fairly, empowered to support DoD’s mission in a workplace free from discrimination.”

A Social Nerve Center for LGBTQ DoD

DoD Pride seeks to be the social advocacy nerve center for LGBT equality, benefits, and community within the Department of Defense; and to serve as the DoD’s interface with allied groups. 

The Annual DoD Pride Event

Each year in June, DoD Pride holds an event to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, and the theme of their 2022 Pride Celebration is “All Together.” Guest speakers include a wide range of high-ranking military and civilian leaders within the DoD. Past guests have included Mr. Stuart Milk, Co-Founder and President of the Harvey Milk Foundation; Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth; and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The first DoD Pride event took place in 2012 to celebrate the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. 

Where to Find the DoD Pride Community

To learn more about DoD Pride, make a tax-free donation, purchase DoD Pride challenge coins or download free pride posters, please visit their website. You can also join their Facebook Group to find DoD Pride resources and events, or check out their YouTube channel.