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“We have about 600 people from all over the country coming to our fifth annual gala,” says Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partners Association. “Not just members of the LGBTQ community, but a great number of allies. Everything is focused on celebrating and honoring our service members and their spouses for their sacrifice, while also focusing on the challenges we have ahead.”
The nation’s largest LGBTQ military event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 at the Washington Hilton with a cocktail reception, followed by a dinner program and after-party. For the second year in a row, AMPA will give out Military Spouse Scholarships, which allow spouses of military members to pursue higher education.
To say that the past year-and-a-half has been trying for LGBTQ service members — particularly those who are transgender — would be a gross understatement. As President Trump attempts to limit transgender people from serving in the Armed Forces, AMPA has found itself partnering with Lambda Legal to sue the administration and block them from carrying out the proposed ban.
While that lawsuit works its way through the courts, AMPA remains committed to its mission of providing support and resources to military members, veterans, their spouses, and children, including LGBTQ children of straight military members. AMPA also partners with outside military and LGBTQ organizations to advocate on behalf of LGBTQ-led families, and familiarize the broader public with their existence.
“It’s extremely important for us as an organization to be able to highlight these families in a very positive manner so mainstream America can learn that these families are just like any other military family,” says Broadway-Mack. “We saw that after the repeal of DADT, when families started coming out in the open. So I think it’s important that all of our community, no matter what they identify as, that they’re out and about and visible.”
AMPA’s 5th Annual National Gala is Saturday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW. Black-tie formal. Visit militarypartners.org/gala.
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