State DeptAn American Air Force base in Germany is celebrating Pride for the first time this year.  Staff Sargent Richard Rodriguez, who is openly gay, is working at Spangdahlem air base to ensure that the LGBT community is celebrated for their diversity and service.

Staff Sgt Rodriguez, who is in the 52nd Dental Squadron and the Spangdahlem LGBT Pride month committee president, sat down with Spangdahlem Live to share what it was like being openly gay in the Air Force.

In the interview, Rodriguez explains the pressures he faced because of Don’s Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Rodriguez said, “I just wanted to serve my country and didn’t think I would find myself and have to protect it all at once … when the repeal of DADT came about … we knew it was a small victory, but we had a long way to go before we would become equal members of our respective services.”

Sgt. Rodriguez helped plan many Pride events for Pride Month including an information booth, library readings, a park celebration and a bake sale. From these events, the Spangdahlem community raised $1,500 for future LGBT-themed events.

Sgt. Rodriguez remarked that, “Spangdahlem has an amazing group of people on this base, active duty, civilians and family members, along with services such as the chaplains and the Airman and Family Readiness Center that are trained professionals and here support you. It made the difference for me and many others this month who stepped out to let our presence be known. Don’t let fear run your life.”

The end of DADT begins a new chapter for the nation's military. HRC thanks the brave men and women serving who have taken a lead to celebrate and embrace the LGBT community. 

Filed under: Military

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