San Diego Hub
The unprecedented appearance of uniformed military personnel in yesterday's San Diego Pride Parade was much appreciated by spectators along the route, according to the AP:
Some of the loudest cheers Saturday at San Diego’s gay pride parade were for active-duty troops marching in military dress, the first time that U.S. service members participated in such an event while in full uniform.
Dozens of soldiers, sailors, and Marines marched alongside an old Army truck decorated with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag.
From the LA Times:
A crowd estimated at 200,000 whistled, waved, cheered and applauded as the service members walked the parade route through the city's largely gay neighborhood of Hillcrest, ending at the western extension of Balboa Park. All branches of the military were represented.
Some in the crowd waved tiny flags; others shouted, "Thank you for your service!" Some saluted.
As Andy explained last week, this will probably be the last time anybody gets to witness such a thing. Generally, all service members are barred from wearing their uniforms during civilian parades. The Pentagon made a one-off exception because the parade's organizers had requested that military personnel don their uniforms, and nobody wanted to see good, patriotic paraders penalized for doing as they were asked. Military personnel will typically appear at parades in tee-shirts denoting their military branch.
Which is fine -- except, man, there's really something special about seeing the full dress uniform. Check out that pic above, from the AP (whose slideshow from the parade is excellent, and viewable here). There's a lot of dignity and sweetness captured in the interaction between the waving sailor and that lovely blue-haired gentleman, and the uniform seems essential.
Pentagon Gives Gay Military Personnel Permission to March in Uniform in San Diego's Gay Pride Parade
Because of the attention the issue is raising nationally, the Pentagon has agreed to a one-time, historic allowance for military personnel to march in San Diego's Gay Pride Parade in uniform this weekend, the L.A. Times reports:
An announcement from the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense said that wearing their uniforms is permitted "provided service members participate in their personal capacity and ensure the adherence to miltary service standards of appearance and wear of the military uniform."
The decision marks the first time that gay personnel will be permitted to wear their uniforms in a gay parade.
Saturday's parade through the Hillcrest neighborhood is San Diego's first gay pride parade since the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" rule that prohibited gay military personnel from serving openly.
Last year, upward of 200 active-duty and retired military personnel marched in the parade. Many wore T-shirts with the name of their branch of service.
The allowance is an exception, the AP reports: "The Defense Department says it is making the exception because parade organizers had invited service members to march in uniform and the matter was getting national attention. The Pentagon says the exception is only for this year’s parade in San Diego and does not extend beyond that."
You may have heard that San Diego's 4th of July fireworks show exploded and fizzled in just 30 seconds after a technical malfunction set all the charges off at once. It was an embarrassing moment organizers, to be sure, but provides the viewing public with an incredible, though short-lived, orgy of sparkles, crackles and pops.
Watch the fireworks blow their fuses from various angles AFTER THE JUMP.
Couldn't make it to San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood last night for the ceremonial unveiling of the first street in the nation named for slain gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk?
We've got it for you, AFTER THE JUMP...
Stuart Milk was visibly moved by San Diegans’ commitment to the goal of making their city the first to successfully rename a street in his uncle’s honor, noting that his uncle first came to San Diego as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. In one of the lighter moment of the ceremony, Milk, himself a gay man, said his uncle also “… fell in love with the beautiful boys here.”
But there were solemn moments during the dedication.
“Harvey always said, ‘you’ve got to give ‘em hope,” Stuart Milk told the crowd, adding that his famous uncle urged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as well as their allies to fight hate with hope. ’“You are the hope Harvey was talking about,” he said. “More than any street, school or ship that might be named after him, it was you that he took a bullet for.”
Nicole Murray Ramirez, a nationally prominent LGBT activist and columnist for LGBT Weekly, likened Harvey Milk to Cesar Estrada Chavez, Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, all but one (Chavez) of whom were killed by assassins’ bullets.
The San Diego City Council has voted unanimously to name a street after Harvey Milk, the Union Tribune reports:
The two-block road leading up to the San Diego LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest will be changed from Blaine Avenue to Harvey Milk Street in honor of the late San Francisco supervisor, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.
“This is a great day of pride for our community, our district and this city,” said Councilman Todd Gloria, who represents the Hillcrest area and is openly gay.
Councilwoman Lorie Zapf joined the unanimous vote, despite past comments critical of homosexuality. She once called it a sin and that gays should not be allowed to hold public office. She has apologized for what she said during her 2010 campaign.
The street signs will be changed by May 22, what would have been Milk's 82nd birthday.