When the 39th annual Capital Pride parade makes its way through the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington, D.C., today, it will feature a new contingent — a U.S. Armed Forces color guard.
“The Department of Defense has authorized what military gay rights groups and organizers of the Capital Pride parade say is a first nationwide — a color guard that will present the red, white and blue as well as flags of each branch of the military,” reports The Washington Post.
Military installations throughout the nation have their own color guards, and apparently all have rejected previously requests to appear in LGBT pride parades, according to the Post. They have usually cited scheduling conflicts, as there has been no official policy against their participation in pride events since the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011.
The color guard in the Capital Pride parade is from the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. Its duties include presenting the flags at congressional and White House events. It will lead off the parade, preceding grand marshal Chris Kluwe, the former Minnesota Vikings punter and outspoken LGBT ally.
“We knew we might get turned down, but we asked and they said yes,” Capital Pride board president Bernie Delia told the Post. “I think that’s very significant.”
The parade is set to begin at 4:30 p.m.