Now that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is no longer the law of the land, the nation's oldest private military academy is celebrating its first gay pride week.
Norwich University's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Allies club (NULGBTQA) will host events during the week of March 26-31, with a day for celebrations or issue discussions for each of the six colors on the gay pride flag.
On Saturday, they'll have the school's first Queer Prom where Army Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will speak. Morgan publicly announced she was gay the day the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law was repealed.
Joshua Fontanez, NULGBTQA president and a senior member of the Norwich University Corps of Cadets, said in a release the events will express and demonstrate equality throughout the Norwich community, and attempt to educate the public on challenges and issues faced by members of the LGBT community.
The NULGBTQA was founded on Sept. 20, 2011, the day that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was officially repealed. According to a press release from the group, they were the first LGBTQ group on a military campus.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was the policy prohibiting gay and lesbian military service members from openly declaring their sexual orientation.
The Boston Globe notes Norwich is the birthplace of the nation’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.
The group told Vermont Public Radio that holding gay pride events on their campus follows the military's tradition of leadership.
"The repeal [of Don't Ask, Don't Tell] is bringing a new wave of equality," Fontanez told VPR, "a new wave of rights that so many generations have been waiting for."
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