History will be made at this year's San Diego Pride Parade when active-duty military members will march openly through the heart of Hillcrest.
"To my knowledge [it is] the first time in the history of Pride in the United States, ever, that we have said, 'Active duty, you are welcome,'" organizer Sean Sala said. "We want you to be there without fear of repercussions, because we love you."
Sala, an active-duty sailor, said he was bothered to see that police and firefighters were represented in the Pride parade, but not the people who serve this country.
"I thought it was weird because San Diego has the biggest military installation in the United States, and military are public servants as well," he said.
Sala said 200 active-duty members of the military and some veterans have signed up to march at the head of the parade. They will not wear their uniforms because that would violate military regulations. They will instead wear shirts that reflect their branch of service.
"We have made strong emphasis to make sure that this does not violate military policy. Every active-duty person on that float understands that, and every active-duty person on that float respects the military," said Sala.
Why did it take so long for active-duty military to be included in the celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender pride?
"Because of fear and because of nervousness," Sala said. "Because some people thought, 'Oh, if I'm here then people are going to think it's because I'm gay.'"
Sala said many of those who signed up to march are straight. His parents, who both served in the military, will be among them.
The Pride Parade will be held July 16 at 11 a.m.
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