Local Sailor Gets Invitation To White House

Petty Officer 3rd Class Ann Foster Invited To Reception For Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month

Amid headlines over President Obama's stance on gay marriage, a local sailor has snagged a once-in-a-lifetime invite from the White House.

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Ann Foster enlisted in the Navy a year and a half ago. Next month, she will head to the White House.

"It's rather overwhelming to know I'll be representing the entire branch of the Navy," said Foster.

Her emotional ride began with a phone call she received two weeks ago.

"It was a good thing I was sitting down, because I probably would have fallen over in shock," said Foster.

That is when she learned she will be meeting the president at a White House reception on June 15 for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

After "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed, Foster started the first-ever LGBT support group on a U.S. military base while training in Chicago, but first, she had to ask her commanding officer.

"My palms were sweating," she recalled. "I was so nervous, even though I knew this man well. I was extremely nervous to say, 'Sir, I'm gay and I want to start a group for gay people.' He was very supportive… I wanted a community or group where people could come and ask questions."

She said the support she got from her commanding officer is the same response she is getting in San Diego, where she is hoping to start a similar group.

On San Diego Navy bases, Foster is getting the word out. She is also meeting with military leaders before she formally applies to start the group.

Foster's efforts – along with her trip to the White House – come amid Obama's announcement of his support of same sex marriage.

While Foster's group does not take positions on political issues, she cannot wait to voice a personal "thank you" for Obama's support of the LGBT community.

"I wish there was another word for 'thank you' to sum up how I feel," said Foster. "It's the deepest, most heartfelt 'thank you' I'll probably ever give anybody."

The reception is scheduled to take place on June 15.

Foster is hoping to start the group on San Diego Navy bases in the next three months.

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