We’ve come a long way since the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy allowed LGBT people to serve in the military as long as they remained closeted. Thankfully, that policy was repealed in 2011, and LGBT people can serve without having to keep that part of them silent. (Even if Trump’s busy working to keep that from being true for the trans community.) And now, we’re even seeing Pride celebrations in the military! Our favorite example is the Pride cake baked by the Navy’s Culinary Specialist Second Class Kyle Tobey for his shipmates aboard the USS Chancellorsville.
This Thursday, the USS Chancellorsville, stationed in the Philippine Sea, had its own Pride celebration. To celebrate, CS2 Tobey baked a special cake, featuring the American flag and the Pride flag. Tobey told Hornet, “The idea behind the cake was to keep it clean and simple, but to incorporate elements of LGBTQ Pride through the colors. The Pride Flag and the Flag of the United States, not only represent those in this nation, but me specifically as a someone that has pride from where I come from and where it is I am going in my life.”
Tobey says he baked the cake himself, though the Galley Team helped. The crew of the USS Chancellorsville turned out to celebrate Pride with him, including the Executive Officer of the ship. That support isn’t surprising; not only does the cake look absolutely delicious, Tobey says his experiences as a gay sailor have been very positive.
He says, “My experiences as an Out Sailor would probably be summed up best this way, I have been welcome with open arms by this crew, and the Navy as a whole. Throughout my eight years of military service, I can say that to some my orientation comes as a shock to some, though I use those experiences to allow people that have little to zero experiences with the LGBTQ community to ask questions that they would otherwise be afraid to ask.”
Tobey joined the Navy shortly before the repeal of DADT. He says that for that first year before the repeal, “It was difficult to not be myself 100%. I felt that I could not provide my best as I had to deny parts of my own life to those that I worked with. They couldn’t know the real me, as that could lead to some trouble for me down the road.”
Tobey’s story just shows how important it is to let LGBT people from all walks of life to be their true selves.