By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Lyle Wilkie
Sailors and Marines aboard the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) recognized Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month June 26.
The ceremony was held to recognize the diversity of the crew and promote a culture of acceptance. The ship’s fo’c’sle was accented with rainbow colors often used to symbolize the diversity of the LGBT community and represent different goals aspired by the community, such as solidarity and harmony. Personnel in attendance were also given rainbow-colored flags and pins.
New York’s ceremony began with remarks from Capt. Brent DeVore, the ship’s commanding officer.
“We actively seek to foster an inclusive environment where everybody has the right to serve,” said DeVore. “We are here tonight to remind ourselves of the differences that enrich and bring us together.”
Ensign Michael Franklin, diversity committee lead aboard New York, also delivered a speech discussing the importance of LGBT Pride month.
“There are so many people, even shipmates among us, who struggle with identity in general; I am not just talking about LGBT,” said Franklin. “We are all different. Pride month is about encouraging each other to honor our differences. It is about every person of every race and preference to be encouraged to be proud of whom they are. Make the differences in all of us celebrated rather than shamed. I encourage you to find what makes you different. Find that special something that allows you to be more you than you have ever been. Learn to celebrate it in yourself and in one another. ”
New York, homeported in Mayport, Florida, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interest in Europe and Africa.
The Iwo Jima ARG embarks the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), New York, the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 4 and 8, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, Tactical Air Control Squadron (TACRON) 22, components of Naval Beach Group (NBG) 2 and the embarked staff of commander, Amphibious Squadron 4.