Zachary CoralloThere have been few issues that garnered as much national attention in regards to LGBT rights as us serving in the military. And as with all of our civil rights debates, after serving openly in the military was legalized, the horror stories and scenarios that some predicted, have not come true.

We recently received a call from the Navy Recruiting District Richmond Headquarters in search of a speaker to address LGBT issues from the viewpoint of military personnel. We recruited QM1 (SW) Zachary Corallo to address the audience. Below are a few of his thoughts.

"The reason I stepped up and started speaking for the LGBT community in the military is to create awareness and educate people about the reasons behind why we celebrate LGBT Pride month. I believe it's a celebration to recognize the sacrifices and adversity the LGBT community has endured over recent decades. I also think that part of educating is to give people a glimpse and share firsthand what it was like, specifically for service members, to live under the umbrella of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, and how much of a difference it makes now that the policy has been repealed."

"These experiences with speaking have been a little nerve racking because I've never spoken publicly to Military and DoD personnel about my personal life and how living under the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy has affected me; however, each time I've done it, I am completely surprised at the level of support I get and am heart-warmed with how far we have come in recent years in these issues. I am truly blessed to be part of such an incredible organization like the Department of Defense and the Navy."

Very Respectfully,
QM1(SW) Zachary Corallo
Petty Officer First Class (USN)

Petty Officer First Class Corallo is a wonderful example of who we are. We take this opportunity to thank him, and all our community members who have and who are presently serving in the military.