Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Education and Awareness Panel
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea -- In an attempt to raise awareness and help community members embrace diversity, members of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Eighth Army hosted a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month Awareness and Education Panel at the Dragon Hill Lodge June 30.
Event organizer, Sgt. 1st Class. Melvin Berrios Ortiz, 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, said this event celebrates how members of the LGBT community have overcome challenges in recent years.
He added that this program was educational because it allowed for an open discussion about Department of Defense policies and challenges faced by LGBT service members.
"The world is changing and the Army is changing, too. But some senior leaders lag behind in the changing world and don't want to accept the differences," said Staff Sgt. Eric J. Serrano, 65th Medical Brigade. "They should be able to embrace the changes. And we should be able to speak out about our self-identity (and) encourage others so they can do the same thing."
Spc. Dumon J. Patterson, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, emphasized the importance of communication and understanding.
"We are all serving for our country and we should be proud of who we are and what we do," said Patterson. "But we have to understand exactly what people go through to help each other out in this community."
Overall, the message of the event was for members of the military community to put aside prejudice and embrace diversity.
"It is important to make sure, as leaders, that we treat everyone with respect no matter what. The regulations have changed and it's time for us to change as well," said panel member Anna M. Revere. "Personal biases shouldn't affect how we treat anyone. It's time for us to embrace the change and spread the culture."