This is the third consecutive year in which active duty military personnel will have participated in the contingent that leads the annual parade through the streets of San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood.
This year, organizers expect more than 300 service members to participate in the July 13 parade, either in uniform or wearing a branch-specific T-shirt.
Last year, for the first time in history, the Defense Department gave a blanket permission for all branches of the military to march while dressed in their uniforms. In 2011, about 250 service membersmarched in the pride event, but wore branch t-shirts instead of uniform.
Under this year’s authorization, only Region Southwest members of the Navy (officer or CPO) can wear their Summer White or Service Khaki uniforms. E-1 through E-6 service members can wear their Service Dress White or Service Uniform.
“San Diego has a strong military presence and a large LGBT community, and it is important to our LGBT servicemembers that we honor their full identity and service to our country,” said Stephen Whitburn, San Diego LGBT Pride general manager.
“We are grateful to the Navy Region Southwest command for extending their support to our event and to these courageous servicemembers,” he said.
So far there has been no announcement from the Pentagon or other branches of the military granting similar permission, although last year’s announcement came just two days prior to the parade.