The Military Acceptance Project is being honored as a Champion of Change for its work ensuring the safety, dignity, and equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, as demonstrated by the organization's inspiring video entry in the LGBT Pride Month Video Challenge.
Kristen Kavanaugh wrote the following blog post on its behalf.
Acceptance is a basic human need.
For far too long, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have lived with that need unmet. This is especially true of those who have served in our nation’s military. But thanks to the Obama Administration, so many service members and veterans can now take steps toward filling that void.
The Military Acceptance Project is honored to represent LGBT service members and veterans as a White House Champion of Change. We dedicate this award to the countless number of men and women who have served our country in silence throughout history and those who continue to protect our freedoms today.
Our mission is to promote acceptance of all people within the military and society at large. We believe in encouraging every service member and veteran to realize their worth and to find pride in their service to our country. Putting a face to the service of gay and lesbian service members has the ability to shatter the negative stereotypes that the general public may have about their service.
We produced the “Just Like You” video to reinforce this belief. For many of our video participants, this was the first time they discussed their service openly. For many of them, this was the first time that they came out to their military colleagues. Much to their surprise, they each received overwhelming support from family, friends, former colleagues and total strangers. Through their personal courage, they set an example for other service members/veterans to feel confident in sharing their stories.
This is cultural change in its purest form. We believe in changing culture one conversation at a time. We, at the Military Acceptance Project, are conversation starters. We recognize the importance of having difficult conversations in order to build stronger communities and find common ground despite perceived differences.
In her Human Rights Day speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “it takes a constellation of conversations” to change the attitudes about the LGBT community at large. We hope our video started conversations about the service of gays and lesbians in our military. In the next phase of our work, we want start conversations about acceptance across the country- in schools and community organizations, in businesses large and small. We want to initiate a dialogue that continues to encourage our society to build a culture of acceptance and fulfill one another’s basic human need: to feel accepted.