101 Faces of Courage

| September 20, 2011 | 81 Comments

The following 101 photos represent the approximately 70,000 currently serving LGBT military personnel. We serve in every country, in every conflict, and in every career field. We serve because we are committed to our country. We serve to protect those we love. We serve because we are dedicated to this self-evident truth — that all men are created equal. This is who we are:


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  1. Gracias por su valor, por su entereza. Su acto tiene resonancia mundial.

  2. Dan Ripley says:

    You are all amazing and brave as hell. Long and happy lives to you all.

  3. Rene Micheo says:

    Thank you ladies and gentleman, I personally congratulate all of you for making this day part of our History.

  4. N says:

    You guys inspire me! I’m so proud of each and every one of you, and I promise that as soon as I can, I’m going to join the ranks of the open and free. You guys are beautiful and courageous.

  5. Todd k Waddington says:

    I enlisted in the USNavy in 1981, and was summarily kicked out in 1982 for being gay. I know that most of you weren’t even born then!
    But my heart swells with Pride when I see the many faces. You are all so beautiful! Thank you for being brave… and many thank-you’s for your service!

  6. Lu Potter says:

    I am proud to see that the military has let you be free from all restrictions. I never understood the reason why you could not be who you are. Serving your country should not have any conditions upon it.

  7. HT says:

    Your courage is extraordinary. I am filled with joy, pride, and hope knowing that you all may live openly without fear of retribution.

    Thank you for being the faces of this moment, and for humanizing the repeal of DADT. You have done something extremely important.

  8. SteveInMi says:

    Today the United States takes another step toward civilization. Thank you to the 101 pictured, the 70,000 who served, and the thousands who served in the closet or were discharged. Thank you for your courage, for your service, and for helping to make history.

  9. Alan says:

    Wonderful – and thank you all. Today I can’t help but think of my friend, former Air Force officer Rich Richenberg, expelled in 1995 under DADT, who took his own life this year. I wish he could be here to see this.

    Rich was a decorated Air Force officer. He received a commendation during the Persian Gulf war for detecting and countering an enemy threat. The nature of the threat remains classified.

    In 1993 Captain Richenberg was ranked among the top 10% of Air Force officers. He came out as gay to his commander. Discharge hearings began that year, and a board recommended a general discharge. The expulsion took effect in December, 1995 and was upheld in appellate court. The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear his appeal.

    In recent years he had sold real estate and held a variety of other jobs.

    Rich took his life on or about May 20, 2011.

    • Tim C says:


      Thank you for sharing Captain Richenberg’s story.

      The choice of ending one’s life seems particularly tragic when that choice is made by our service men and women.

      Thank you to all of our service members and their loved ones.

      Tim C

  10. Cindy says:

    Totally Awesome!! Brave members of our armed forces, FIGHT on!!
    Thank YOU for Your Service!

  11. Jeffrey in St. Louis says:

    Today is your day! A weight has been lifted from you and you are free to live openly and honestly. Thank you all for your service, pictured and otherwise, LGBT and straight. We are forever in your debt.

  12. Mike says:

    This is an example of true courage and bravery! Bravo to all of you and thank you so much for serving our country! You’re each an inspiration!

  13. Michael Watts says:

    From a straight Navy Vet, thank you for your service.

    We all share the same title: Veteran.

    MM2 (NUKE/SW)
    USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) Reactor Dept. M Division 2004-08
    US Navy 2002-08

  14. Thomas Goodrow says:

    As on openly gay Air Force veteran, I am sincerely proud of the work done by my brothers and sisters in the military. Best Wishes to you all!

  15. P says:

    I’m not even from the States, but I just wanted to say that you guys are all so awesome and brave :)

  16. Matthew says:

    I am not gay, and I serve in the Army. I fully support those members that are gay that serve their country. Congratulations on winning your long fight. Stand proud, stay strong.

  17. Steve Dundas says:

    Thank you to all the Gay Men and Women who have been serving honorably since I enlisted in 1981. After 30 years in the military I can say that I have met and served alongside some of the most professional and dedicated Soldiers, Marines and Sailors that happen to be gay. Those that I know have served with distinction and did so in a time where it was a crime to acknowledge their sexual orientation. Many have served in combat and some have given their lives for this Nation. Congratulations on this first day that you can serve without being discharged just for being gay.

    CDR Steve Dundas, CHC USN

  18. Steven in Alabama says:

    I’m glad for you all that this day is finally here; you deserve this level of freedom and respect. Thank you for your service to this great nation!

  19. Tom says:

    Excellent articles. These men and woman are braver than most. http://wp.me/p1se8R-1td

  20. Tri T (USAF) says:

    It is so wonderful to see DADT finally repealed. Thank you all for your courage and service.

    Sgt Tran, USAF, TAFB

  21. DannyEastVillage says:

    I could just explode with pride..

  22. Christian says:

    INCREDIBLE. Thank you thank you and THANK YOU so much for all that you do.

  23. Kristopher Curry says:

    Need some WV guys and gals on here! Peace to ALL!

    • dan dawes says:

      hi, there’s a christian curry batchelder in Oakland, Ca that you might like to talk to. of the Yosemite Currys…

      • Kristopher Curry says:

        Not in the services but I am proud of the men and women that serve our country!!! Especially gays and lesbians that serve OUR COUNTRY even when OUR COUNTRY didn’t support them! BTW, I’m from West Virginia.

  24. Stuart says:

    Thank you for your service to the nation and your courage. The repeal of DADT took far too long! Be well.

  25. Christian B says:

    Jamar Green? I run into that guy everywhere – San Diego, DC, oye vey!

    • Lana says:

      Point? It’s a shame he ever had to hide who he was. Thank goodness he can be open about who he is now. DADT was so stupid and medieval.

    • Robert Morehead says:

      I am a 61yo Navy vet. I am so proud of you all!!! being in the closet is no fun. I wrote a piece, i will share: Enjoy

      The Real Fool

      You’re never a fool when you share your heart.
      Because, you see, I can’t be a part.
      If you never open the door and let me in.

      In today’s world, we are told to guard our hearts and to never expose ourselves,
      To live a lie and never be real.

      We cover ourselves in clothing of deceit and parade ourselves as something we are not.
      It’s a world of jokers, clowns and court jesters,
      Who act on the stage of life as to mockery,
      Who pretend what they are not.

      When the show is over, they go back to their dressing rooms, remove the costumes and makeup, to expose themselves to the Mirror that sees all.
      They see that they are miserable, yet have fooled themselves for so long, that they can never be themselves.

      To expose themselves to the world and allow their hearts to be open and the freedom to be real.

      God Bless the USA

  26. Margie says:

    I am so proud and pleased to see the dawn of this new era in equality. I never served because I was gay and knew that was a part of me I couldn’t keep hidden. I have ultimate respect and admiration for those who served anyway. I have many friends who were either discharged or served in silence…this day is justice for all! It’s just too bad all of those general discharges for being gay can’t all now be turned into honorables…I have never known more honorable people. This will boost the quality of our armed forces; look at the strategic folks who were booted out (Dan Choi). Now that we can serve without fear, more of us will enlist. Hooray for us all!

  27. SeanR says:

    Greetings to you all from Dublin Ireland

    Josh and Company: it is just wonderful news about the end of that awful DADT! I felt it was incromprehensible and so deeply unfair that an organisation charged with protecting freedom discriminated in such a way, destroying the careers and even the lives of good service people. I hope you can now have easier public lives in the honourable work that you do.

    I had to drop a line to state how I found looking at the pictures of the heroes so moving, it is a real image of GLBT diversity if there ever was one. You all look fantastic and so enormously proud in uniform.

    Continued good luck to you all in your careers in the services and keep safe in the crazy times we live through.

    Sean Reynolds Ph.D.

  28. Kenneth Averett says:

    Thank you all for your incredible service to our country. The fact that you have all been so selfless is a tribute to your dedication to serving. That you are free now to be honest with yourselves and others without the fear of termination is just fantastic. Please know that everyone in this country supports you and all you have done for us. Now being “proud” can include being “out” as well.

    God Bless all of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Kenneth Averett
    Fort Lauderdale

  29. Andrew L. Ross says:


  30. Ron Anderson says:

    To all of the 70,000 who are currently serving, thank you for staying the course, ducking the ‘gay’ issue in order to serve our country with honor. You are awesome. To those who mananged to get through the system unscathed and to those who did not — each of you is a blessing!

    My DADT dismissal came near what probably would have been the end of my career anyway (25 years). I was by then on the Division staff. I filled out a security clearance renewal form and answered yes to the question “Have you ever seen a therapist?” (or whatever word they used). It was this saftey net that kept me sane and on mission but the net had a hole in it. DoD got hold of the records and that was that!

    When the Chief of Staff told me DoD had instructed the unit to separate me for admitting (in confidence and to a non-military shrink) that I was gay, his questions were “How can this be?” and “Is it really true?”. On the way out the door I sat in front of the CG and each member of the General Staff individually to explain. Maybe the next time the issue of a soldier being gay came up they remembered and said “So what?”.

    Chaplain Ron Anderson
    COL (Ret), Texas Army National Guard

  31. Luke Klipp says:

    Thank you for your courage and bravery. Today is a tremendous day for all of us, and in particular for the 101 people pictured here (and 60,000-70,000 others). I’m so happy for all of you and cannot thank you enough.

  32. Tara says:

    Good riddance, DADT!!! I just wish I was still in the Air Force to be a part of this historic event! Congratulations to all who this affected.

  33. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for all you have done. Thank you for all you will do. May today be a day for you all to find peace and acceptance. May tomorrow be a day for everyone to ask “So, what was the big deal? Why did it take us so long?”

    The military did not collapse when desegregation occurred. The military did not collapse when women were allowed to serve. The military will not collapse now that DADT has ended.

  34. MA says:

    I am shedding tears of joy on this event!

  35. jenny says:

    I am a straight AF officer and I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS. This is long overdue. I’m proud to serve with all of you.

  36. Jeffrey says:

    I am so happy today. For those that served years ago, those serving today, and in the years to come. Thanks for having the courage and stamina to fight for our country and our civil rights. You are all heroes!

  37. dennis clark says:

    ok finally everyone can be OUT !! now how about same sex benefits, it is only fair, hell i have been with the same guy for 30 yrs who is a vet. he served this country 6 yrs. i should be able to get his benefits like a women would be able to!

  38. Mark says:

    I have been in military service in one form or another… and going through all the changes… and knowing what it’s like to be living a lie… for 30+ years. Today, I’m flying Ol’Glory on the front porch– and the next time I put on my uniform, I’ll be more proud than ever before. Let Freedom Ring!

  39. Joe says:

    It’s amazing to me to see all these wonderful faces of the men and women serving our country. You are all brave individuals who, even in the face of discrimination, still chose to stand up and defend our nation. I am glad that we can honor you, the true you, and all your service and sacrifice to the country!

  40. Michelle says:

    Thank you for your service and your courage. I was moved to tears looking at your picture. God bless you and keep you safe.

  41. Michael Anthony says:

    It’s a great day! Be a role model for our youth! Again, thank you for your service and be proud!

  42. tom says:

    Congratulations and thank you for your service. Let us NOT forget the thousands of soldiers that were kicked out of the service prior to DADT and let us not forget the thousands that were kicked out under DADT!!! We need to get all those discharges upgraded to honorable and have the bullshit smears removed from their military records. It is about time that this beyond stupid policy of DADT was put in the trash can where it belongs. The nation owes a huge apology to all those who were discharged for being gay.

    • RM says:

      I agree DADT was an antiquated policy, but being banned from enlistment was even worse. Regardless of how stupid many of the postings state DADT policy was, it was a necessary transitional point that provided the initial opportunity to serve the armed forces. Prio to DADT, the initial enlistment involved one quick question that confirmed your sexuality. This exclusionary policy could have never be repealed and expect the armed forces to make a complete 180 degree turn in their policy all in ONE SWIFT MOVE !

      I am glad that DADT has finally be repealed and this draconian qualification process has been fully eliminated.

  43. Arleen Sweeney says:

    I am a very proud to be an American today!!! I want to thank all of you who serve our country. You all should be proud and hold your heads high. “God Bless America”

  44. Will says:

    This is one of the best days in the history of the US military. I am on active duty and am extremely happy DADT was appealed; it was a barbaric, unfair policy. Stay strong brothers and sisters, do not be bullied by intolerance and hatred. I salute your courage!

  45. Reggie says:

    I joined up in 1973 and I am proud to say today as a gay retired Staff Sergeant of the United States Army, CONGRATULATIONS. I served 20+ years and with all the changes the military has gone through this is long overdue. I know what it’s like to be living a lie and serving in silence. Now that you can serve without fear of discharge for being gay,in show all of those against this new era in equality how wrong they were by staying the course and serve our country with honor as i know you have and will always do.

    SSg. Reginald Wright (Ret.)

  46. LES HEFFLER says:

    You guys are fantastic. I am so happy for you and proud to be an American!

  47. CaitlynRenee says:

    When I was a young Marine serving in Viet Nam, there were three men in our commend that we KNEW were gay. They were honest about it but did not flaunt it. It’s just the way it was. We still played cards when we could, shared canteens and ‘buddied up’ on patrol. We also knew they were damn fine Marines. One was ‘black’ and Catholic. One was ‘white’ and Presbyterian. The last guy was mixed race and Baptist. These three Marines and four others died saving the lives of 30 other men. Their blood was just as red and they died just as dead, trying their damndest to save other Marines lives. It was at that point I decided to never again question the loyalty of or put down another man/woman in uniform because of something as complicated as gender, sex, or sexuality, something still not fully understood. Yes, those three things are distinctly different subjects.

    I wonder today, at the age of 62, just how many us who survived that firefight went on to raise families, live productive lives. How many of us emember those 7 Marines.

    • CaitlynRenee says:

      Just a note:

      To those of us who served with the men who died on that mission mentioned above, there sexuality was always a ‘non-issue’. We just didn’t care. They were our brothers.

      I too am a retired U.S. Marine after serving 22 years of honorable, active service. Retired in 1989.

      I’m the father of gender questioning children, grandfather of two and uncle of another and am proud of all of them, one who is serving and another who did serve.

      My tag line should say something about me.

      Thank you, to all who still carry the flame of honor and service to our great nation.

  48. Leslie Wright says:

    All Canadians are in awe of “We The People…..” The moral truth of the Universe.

    to each one of you, I too applaud your personal courage and determination in the face of bureaucratic oppositional-defiance.

    Les WRIGHT
    Vancouver, British Columbia

  49. Gary says:

    Godspeed My Friends!
    Thank You all for what you do and keeping each and one of us safe.

  50. ErnestPayne says:

    Have a cousin in the wife’s family who is well up in the reserves of one of the US services who is homosexual. Next time I see him I will ask him about this. Congratulations to all. Considering the total numbers in all the services this is truly a tempest in a tea pot. My country (Canada) managed this, despite opposition, and the world did not end.

  51. Truth says:

    Way to ruin everything for everyone by being a bunch of attention-whoring assholes. Maybe you should’ve stopped for a second and realized no one one gave a shit that you were gay? In almost every case of someone claiming to be kicked out for being gay, they were kicked out for other reasons. Maybe being so caught up with who you’re having sex with made you not mission effective so you weren’t a useful asset to the military? You dumbshits aren’t doing your job right when you spend all your time waiving your bullshit in people’s faces.

    • ErinJones says:

      This isn’t about rubbing anything in anyone’s faces, this is about getting the sexuality problem out of the way. You act like only homosexuals rub their sexuality in everyone’s face. In the 5 years I served on board my ship, not one day went by that some guy didn’t hit on me or try and get in my pants. Not one day went by that I wasn’t able to contribute into a conversation while people talked about their wives or husbands, I had to change girlfriend to boyfriend, and then get hit on more. Homosexuals are not the ones rubbing their sexuality everywhere, it’s everyone. To act like it’s not all over the military is ignorant. People talk about sex all the time. We’re not even asking to talk about sex, we’re just asking to be able to serve our country and focus on the mission, reguardless of who we fall in love with. You’re ignorant, and one day it will catch up with you.

  52. Jeff Whitmire says:

    I want to personally thank every each and one of you for your bravery, service and dedication! Thank you all and may God bless you all and keep you safe.

  53. Fernando says:

    I am so proud of you guys. You make me feel strong and powerful through your courage… My thoughts are with each one of you… All the best…. Fernando

  54. David Peterson says:

    You Guys and Gals are Awesome!!

  55. John Canny says:

    Wow! The music officer at Fort Bragg is gay?

    I didn’t see that one coming at all.

  56. Kim says:

    Congratulations on finally being allowed to serve your country with honor, distinction and honesty. Thank you for all you do to keep our country safe.

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