A Salute to Chicago's LGBT Veterans

According to the Urban Institute, more than 1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender veterans are currently living in the United States. Veterans from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities were honored at “With Liberty and Justice For All” — the nation’s only municipally sponsored, military salute to LGBT veterans. It’s the City’s 8th annual Salute to America’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Veterans

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This unparalleled event is meant to pay tribute to America’s LGBT veterans and inspire dialogue and advocacy in their behalf.

LGBT veterans spoke out on their experiences in the armed services and under the U.S.military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, the policy that bars gays from serving openly in the military. The gay veterans were honored by the U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, whom was the featured speaker and has issued a statement calling for the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy – he voted to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t’ Tell” policy in June. Recently, the president said in his State of the Union address this year that he intended to move and to overturn the policy, and his administration has been taking steps to do so. Back in August, at a Pentagon briefing, Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway signal the removal of one of the final hurdles to the implementation of openly gay service and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Commandant Conway stated that “if the law changes, we pride our Corps in leading the services in many, many things, and we’re going to have to lead in this too.”

Renowned jazz vocalist Lucy Smith of the Lucy Smith Jazz Quartet performed the national anthem, and the program included a presentation of colors, a Mayoral proclamation, and a wreath-laying ceremony.

You rock, Chicago!!

*Photos courtesy of Mike Lackovich

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