The social experiments continue while the draw down continues.
In a drenching rain, Evander Deocariza, an active-duty Marine, was the flag bearer Saturday for the transgender community flag in the color guard for the city’s 41st LGBT Pride Parade.
By sheer coincidence, the San Diego parade was the same week that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced formation of a six-month working group to study “policy and readiness implications” of “welcoming” transgender people to serve openly.
Carter’s implication was clear: Make it happen.
Once Carter made his announcement, Deocariza knew what he had to do. He announced to his command, where he is known by a different name, that he is transgender. And he decided to go public at one of the nation’s largest pride parades.
Deocariza, 25, a corporal, wore a T-shirt with the slogan “Serving With Pride” and a button reading “Trans and Proud.” His girlfriend, a civilian, marched along with several hundred military personnel as the crowd lining the streets of Hillcrest cheered.
“I want to set an example of what a transgender person can be like — a good Marine,” said Deocariza, a linguist.
Weeks ago parade organizers had decided to feature the transgender community as the collective grand marshal, under the slogan “Liberty and Justice For All.”[…]
As the U.S. military’s policy toward gays and lesbians has evolved, the annual LGBT Pride Parade in San Diego, as befits a military community, has been in the forefront.
In 2011, with the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule still in effect, upward of 200 military personnel marched defiantly in the San Diego parade, many wearing T-shirts identifying their branch of the service.
In 2012, after the policy was repealed, the Pentagon issued a one-year exemption to the rule banning the wearing of uniforms in the parade just days before the San Diego event. Several hundred military personnel marched, some in uniform, others in T-shirts.
Now that the no-uniforms rule has been lifted permanently, the number of military personnel, active-duty and retired, in the San Diego parade has grown each year, many from local bases, others from bases around the country. Saturday’s contingent was estimated at more than 300.
San Diego Councilman Todd Gloria, who is gay, said that while he is pleased with changes made by the Department of Defense, there are still challenges facing the transgender community. “It isn’t time for a ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner,” he said.
Several activists staged “die-ins” along the parade route to emphasize the need for continued political action involving transgender issues, including spousal rights, health care, protection from violence, nondiscrimination in employment and housing, and overall public acceptance.