Stars and Stripes

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When most of U.S. Army Garrison Italy’s first-ever gay pride event was canceled last year after some parents complained they didn’t want their children “indoctrinated,” organizer Bert Gillott was frustrated. “It makes me angry that people still think like that,” said Gillott, a retired Air Force master sergeant who spent decades hiding that he was gay. “Parents who don’t know anyone who is LGBT, they think we’re bad people.” But he was also undeterred. The protocol officer for U.S. Army Africa put his organizational skills to work for this year’s event to mark LGBT Pride Month. Instead of hosting an internationally known activist to speak, as was done last year, he asked soldiers, civilians and students — members of the community — to tell their stories.

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