There were smiles, cheers and most of all, feelings of progress yesterday in San Diego as a few hundred military personnel walked the roughly thirty-five minute route through Hillcrest to Balboa Park. For the first time, the gay and lesbian soldiers were allowed to march in uniform at a pride parade, and rather than rebukes, some even got emails of encouragement from their superiors.

According to The Los Angeles Times, the contingent was represented by both current and former army officials, some of whom traveled from far away in order to show their patriotism and their acceptance of themselves in equal measure. It almost didn’t happen though. Until a few days ago, no one was quite sure whether the Defense Department would let anyone wear uniforms, but ultimately, a memo was sent out giving everyone a thumbs up, provided all behaved during the festivities. Not surprisingly, they all did.

No decision has yet been made on whether soldiers will be allowed to attend gay pride parades in other cities wearing their uniforms, but if the Defense Department was using San Diego as a trial run, it’s hard to imagine they won’t open up the possibilities in the future. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell might be off the books, but it’s events like this that actually signal change is at hand.

Pop Blend sends out its sincere thank you to every man and woman serving in the armed forces, regardless of who they choose to love.

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