Enid Vance AFB hosts pride event

From right: 1st Lt. Jennifer Rowald, 71st MDG, Maj Tim Dodd, 5th FTS and SSgt Nomi Littlefield, 5th FTS. Photo provided.

by Hayden Smith
Staff Writer

For the first time ever, Vance Air Force Base will be hosting a pride celebration open to the community.

This Monday, the base will open its doors at 8 a.m. to host speakers and displays from different groups within the town both to show pride for the LGBTQ community and to educate its allies.

One of the displays will feature ribbons with historical value, according to 1st Lt. Jessica Rowald from the71st MDG. The ribbons are meant to symbolize religious support for human and gay rights and dates to 1984.

Another set from 2010 features local religious communities supporting gay rights by displaying their flags from various parts of the country.

“They’re going to end up in a museum pretty soon,” she says.

The displays and informational booths aren’t just for the public. The air force is also trying to learn more about the community and how the base can support LGBTQ rights.

We’re inviting the base to come out and tour and get information,” says Lt. Rowald. “Our base just completed transgender training this past month, so this is all very new to air force.”

Vance will also feature an interactive display where community members can sign and write their coming out story on a door.

“Last year we had a traveling display where people put their coming out story on sticky notes and then the wind would come and blow them off,” Lt. Rowald explains. “So, we’re going to have people actually write them on the door in Sharpie.”

The door will be auctioned off at the Enid coalition’s pride, a separate event happening during the month of September. The coalition has been working with the base to put on the event via donations and displays and plan on being in attendance on base.

“We are very privileged to be able to have this display and the event,” Lt. Rowald says. “The air force has been very supportive. We’re so grateful to be able to educate the public and team Vance and make a show of support.”

The event starts at 8 a.m. on Monday, June 12 and runs until 4 p.m. at Vance base headquarters, building 500.

Copyright The Gayly - 6/8/2017 @ 1:45 p.m. CST