St. Petersburg VA Celebrates LGBT Pride Month

Courtesy of the Miami VA

Organizers are hoping for a big turnout for a special LGBT Pride event planned Thursday,  June 15, 2017 at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) in St. Petersburg, FL.

“Viva La Vida! Live the Life!” is the theme for the celebration open to all veterans and the public. The program will focus on diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity and is scheduled to start at noon at the JC Cobb room located on the first floor of the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center (building 100).

Additionally, there will be information on VA benefits and health care services that are available as well as local business offerings for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender) community.

“We take pride in serving all Veterans and strive to be a national leader in the provision of health care to LGBT Veterans while assuring care is provided in a sensitive, safe environment in all of our facilities,”  Tonya Wieck, Bay Pines Equal Opportunity Program Manager, stated in a news release.

To learn more about the Bay Pines VAHCS’s LGBT Pride Month celebration, please call 727-398-6661, extension 15086.

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Defense Secretary Panetta’s Message to LGBT Community

Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta

Below is the transcript of the video message Defense Secretary Leon Panetta released today for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month:

SECRETARY LEON PANETTA:  As we recognize Pride month, I want to personally thank all of our gay and lesbian service members, LGBT civilians, and their families for their dedicated service to our country.

Before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” you faithfully served your country with professionalism and courage. And just like your fellow service members, you put your country before yourself.

And now — after repeal, you can be proud of serving your country, and be proud of who you are when in uniform.

The pursuit of equality is fundamental to the American story.  The successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” proved to the Nation that just like the country we defend, we share different backgrounds, different values, and different beliefs — but together, we are the greatest military force in the world.

It also reminds us that integrity and respect remain the cornerstones of our military culture.  The Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force implemented the repeal with a focus on respect and individual dignity.

As Secretary of Defense, I am very proud of how we implemented repeal.  Going forward, I remain committed to removing as many barriers as possible to make America’s military a model of equal opportunity, to ensure all who are qualified can serve in America’s military, and to give every man and woman in uniform the opportunity to rise to their highest potential.

Diversity is one of our greatest strengths.  During Pride month — and every month — let us celebrate our rich diversity and renew our enduring commitment to equality for all.

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