Thousands of people took part in the 43rd Annual Gay Pride Parade Sunday in West Hollywood, including for the first time in the parade’s history a delegation from the California National Guard led by its Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, who marched alongside Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), the first openly gay person elected speaker.
“Several of the Guardsmen marching … are gay and were marching openly for the first time as members of the Armed Forces,” Pérez said in a statement released following the parade.
In another first, the California National Guard also had a recruiting booth at the Pride Festival following the parade.
“We are a performance-based force, and one’s sexual orientation shouldn’t affect their ability to serve and excel,” said Maj. Gen. Baldwin. “Duty to one’s state and nation – not sexual orientation – is the defining trait of our soldiers and airmen.”