Ask & Tell

WATCH: First Openly Gay Cadets Graduate From Air Force Academy

Yesterday’s gala graduation ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy had a double reason to celebrate: the nation’s first group of openly gay cadets graduated, proudly tossing their hats high alongside their straight classmates.

Although the celebration was its usual glamorous affair with military jets roaring overheard and President Obama shaking each cadet’s hand, this historic moment for gays in the military was handled quietly and respectfully. No rainbow flags, no dramatic sashays up to the podium, no drawing attention. The gay cadets didn’t want to stand out.

Trish Heller, the head of a group of LGBT Air Force Academy Alumni called Blue Alliance, explained, “The whole thing is we don’t want to be identified as anything different. We want to serve, to be professional and to be symbols of what it means to be Air Force Academy graduates.” That gets our 5-Star salute and two snaps up!

Eight months after the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy got the boot, openly gay cadets have faced reassuringly little opposition. ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (who’s a cutie-patootie, by the way) interviewed graduates and faculty during the ceremony. Each painted a comforting picture describing that once gay cadets were willing and able to come out, the majority of their heterosexual classmates shrugged their shoulders, fully accepted their gay peers, and went on with their studies.

Although only four members of the 2012 graduating class have publicly come out as gay, there are most likely others who wish to stay low-key. Considering the troubled history against homosexuals in the U.S. military, the impact is touching and subtle when openly gay cadets can proudly receive their diploma as welcomed equals in our armed forces.

(Photo: Beverly & Pack/Flickr Creative Commons)

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  • RK

    Congratulations to all the brave gay men and women serving our country! Also, can gay people themselves please stop using the term “lifestyle” to describe their orientation. It makes it seem that is changeable and serves as fodder to the homophobes.

  • William

    People forget that the repeal of DADT does not = Everyone is now out and gay.

    The only difference is that people are free to come out. Just like civilian life.

    We all know a bit too well that the majority of people are not open about their sexuality, why would the military be any different?

    Congrats to the cadets though, what an exciting moment.

  • Michael Bedwell

    Bravo to those cadets who at least came out to their classmates, but a big boo to Trish Heller of Blue Alliance for continuing to be a part of the problem and not the solution to centuries of government sactioned discrimination, effectively disrespecting those gay and lesbian service members who sacrificed their careers to fight for others to serve openly. Of course, no one HAS to, but to choose not to is to choose to live a lie, and to violate the Honor Code when there is no longer a penality for living the truth. [There’s also a lot of moldy nonsense from the article’s author deep throating the charade that was DADT, and the charade that was “repeal training, but it’s our own people who have the most responsibility to get things right.]

  • J Stratford

    They are hot. Even the women ;-)

  • billywingartenson

    cheers ot the cadets – especially those who come out. Breaking the closet in its myriad forms is iMO the most important thing we can do

    Its hard to disrespect and yes hate people you know and respect.

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