The Department of Defense has allowed service members to march in uniform at the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade, which marches through Hillcrest to Balboa Park on Saturday.
It is the first parade in the nation where all service members are allowed to wear their military uniform, said Dwayne Crenshaw Executive Director of San Diego Pride.
"Many of them have died for their country in uniform," he said. "It is fitting that many of them can wear their uniform before their family and friends and be cheered for their service to their county as their full and authentic self."
Permission was granted to that parade only by René C. Bardof, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs for Community and Public Outreach.
Bardof outlined two conditions:
- Members must participate in their personal capacity
- Uniforms must adhere to military standards
Previously, service members had to get permission for their chains of command, Crenshaw said, adding that he encourages service members to still check in with their commanders.
The North County LGBTQ Resource Center will march in the parade. Its director, Max Disposti, said in an email that the permission is great news for service members and their families.
"San Diego County has been taking the lead on acceptance and inclusiveness in the past years—a demonstration that gay prides and parades are not only needed celebrated events but another way to move forward towards full equality under the law," he said.