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Army Reservist Will Wear Uniform During Gay Pride Parade

Evening Edition

Aired 7/20/12 on KPBS News.

Military members will be allowed to march for the first time in uniform in a gay pride parade. The pentagon made an exception for Saturday's Pride Parade in San Diego because part of it is dedicated to military members.

Military members will be allowed to march for the first time in uniform in a gay pride parade. The pentagon made an exception for Saturday's Pride Parade in San Diego because part of it is dedicated to military members.

Many military marchers wore T-shirts in last year's parade to celebrate the Pentagon's pending decision to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy.

Brenna Saladana, 22, was one of them. "We don't have a political agenda when doing this. It's nothing political what-so-ever," Saladana said. She's been a reservist with the California Army National Guard for three years. Most recently helping agents secure the border. She said wearing her uniform during the Pride Parade is a badge of honor. "For me it's self identification. If someone in the parade last year worked for Wells Fargo and they marched in the parade with Wells Fargo, a lot of them had polo shirt's on identifying who they're representing and for us, it's kind of the same thing," Saldana said.

The Pride Parade is a civic event where even police officers and firefighters participate. Saldana said she's relieved the Department of Defense did away with its policy regarding gay service members.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell would be hiding who I am. Don't ask me about what I did this weekend because I can't tell you. Don't ask me about who I went to dinner with last night because I can't tell you. Don't ask me about who I love and care about because I can't tell you."

Saldana grew up in Santee and said her family is her backbone and very supportive. She plans to wear her uniform Saturday along with many other active and retired military veterans. "This is no attack on the DOD, this is no attack on any politician or any policy. We just want to be who we are and be proud of that" Saldana said.

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