In America, being LGBT has always been a battle. A battle for respect, a battle for rights, a battle for life, and a battle for love. Since 1969, before any of us were born, Americans who are LGBT have been fighting for these rights. Through the Stonewall riots, the AIDS epidemic, the passing of the Dont Ask Dont Tell policy, and the Pulse Massacre we know that there are people out there that do not want us to exist. Yet with every blow that we take, we stand taller and stand stronger than we did before. Every June, we remember the LGBT people we lost along the way and what their sacrifice meant to us.

We also remember the great strides we've taken to make us equal to the rest of society. The Matthew Shephard Act of 2009 made it so the federal government recognizes hate crimes against LGBT community. The repeal of the Dont Ask Dont Tell Policy allows individuals who are LGBT to join the military and serve alongside heterosexual sailors and soldiers without feeling as if they are not good enough. And finally, with the legalisation of gay marriage under President Obama, LGBT people were granted the right to love freely and openly, much like heterosexuals have for hundreds of years.

We celebrate Pride to remind Young Americans that they are loved and nobody can hurt them for being who they truly are. Many LGBT kids struggle with the idea of coming out to their friends and family. This is not a moment you ever forget. While some families embrace their kids, many have kicked their LGBT kids out of the house, with 40% of homeless youth being LGBT. Not only do we want them to feel comfortable and happy with who they are and love themselves, we want to educate parents and families on LGBT issues so their kids can grow up feeling loved.

So how does this affect us in the military? Why should we care? The military is a conglomerate of what it means to be American; it is a salad bowl. While every piece of the salad (the lettuce, the tomatoes, and the crutons) retain it's individuality, You simply can't have a salad without those ingredients. LGBT individuals are one of those ingredients. Just like heteosexual people, we contribute just as much to the navy in both the enlisted realm as well officer country. We celebrate pride in the military so that we can remind our LGBT shipmates that even though sometimes they may feel alone or outcast by others, they serve just as great a purpose, are equally as respected, and are as fierce as anybody else.

Editors Note: Phil Pasch specifically requested to have his name shown in full.

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