FAIRFIELD — Members and supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance at Travis Air Force Base walked a mile Friday in what’s said to be the first such event at a military site in the United States.
The walk followed talks by speakers that included the Rev. Micah Murdock, chaplain with the Yolo Hospice.
“It’s unbelievable,” Murdock said of the event. “It’s like surreal it’s so good.”
He thanked President Barack Obama and called him “our wonderful president” who helped make the day possible.
The Rev. David Deerfeeder, an associate of the society of St. Francis, played a flute as part of a “call of the winds” Native American blessing.
Deerfeeder said, “God is an all-inclusive, accepting God,” and spoke about “a new spirit moving through this entire nation.”
Debra Liles, a retired chief master sergeant in the U.S. Air Forces and keynote speaker Friday, said “this is what we call diversity.”
“Everybody should be treated equally,” Liles said. “You should not be treated differently no matter who you love.”
“Today we, you and I, have made history,” she added of the 100 people Liles said were at the event.
Liles said at the start of her talk that she never imagined the Air Force would progress as much as it has, but continued that, “We are nowhere near close to total acceptance.”
She spoke of how, ironically, she joined the Air Force to get away from her boyfriend. They just couldn’t get along, Liles said.
Now, she said, “No one has to serve in silence or secrecy.”
The LGBT Alliance, a private organization established in February, led the walk with a banner that read “come as you are.” Participants carried rainbow flags to the Delta Breeze Club, an officers’ and airmen’s club at Travis.
Brigette Hunley, chairwoman of the Solano County Democratic Committee, called the event groundbreaking.
“This is the first of its kind anywhere in the country,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Monica Brown, vice chairwoman of the Solano County Democratic Central Committee, said she was proud to participate.
“It shows that Fairfield is becoming progressive,” she said. “We are looking at diversity and equality for all.”
Bryan Fischer, issue analysis director for the American Family Association, a nonprofit that describes itself as on the frontlines of America’s culture war, said in a phone interview that a pride event such as the Friday walk is a misnomer.
“There is nothing about homosexuality to be proud of,” Fischer said.
Homosexual behavior is as risky as intravenous drug use and neither choice should be celebrated, he said.
“I’m not surprised because of the aggressive and bullying nature of the homosexual lobby,” Fischer said of Travis being the site of the event. “The ultimate source of this bullying is coming from the commander in chief.”
“He’s driven by a radical ideology which leads him to assault virtually every value” that has made the United States great, the American Family representative said.
Fischer said strident opposition by homosexuals keeps most of the public quiet about what they think.
“People are afraid to speak honestly about what they see,” he said. “People just don’t want to get in the crosshairs.”
Capt. Robert MacArthur, a 60th Dental Squadron resident at the base and president of the LGBT Alliance at Travis, said at the start of the event that the day was about “a sense of pride.”
“A pride in just being who we are,” he said.
“We are and will only be fully successful with diverse support from out straight allies,” he said.
He said during the walk the LGBT Alliance is trying to educate the public.
“We can’t do that without media support,” he said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.