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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard participates in Pride Festival

Pride Festival MINNEAPOLIS, Minn - In observance of LGBT Pride Month the Minnesota National Guard's 347th Regional Support Group hosted a booth at the Minneapolis Pride Festival in Loring Park, June 27-28, 2015, with volunteers from the 147th/247th Financial Management Support Detachments

According to tcprideorg, "Twin Cities Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Minnesota corporation that brings the greater LGBT community together to commemorate our diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality"

For many onlookers at the festival, there was an element of surprise with the Minnesota National Guard's presence, but it didn't take long for the outpouring of appreciation and support from the community

"I'm really happy to see that the National Guard itself supports this event," said Capt Tara Robertson, the first female commander of Company B, 334th Brigade Engineer Battalion "As somebody who is involved in the community, it's great to know that we have the support of the Minnesota National Guard and other soldiers; it's a phenomenal thing to show the public that we support them as well"

With the US Supreme court ruling on Friday which said that states must recognize the unions of same-sex couples and overturned same-sex marriage bans in 13 states, the 347th RSG's participation couldn't have a come at a more historic time for those in the LGBT community The State of Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage on August 1, 2013 Many members of the Minnesota National Guard have same-sex partners or spouses and are feeling increasingly comfortable in being open with their fellow Service members about their sexual orientation

"There's more support in the military than you realize," said Aleta Ingli, a veteran of the Minnesota Army National Guard and wife of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Amy Ingli, 34th Infantry Division Senior Property Book Officer "They do support you, they just don't know about you, but if you feel like sharing with someone, you will get more support than you realized"

Maintaining a diverse force that represents the communities the Minnesota National Guard serves is an organizational priority at all levels of command

"Our unit's effectiveness depends on an environment of dignity and respect, where all Soldiers feel safe to be themselves and share their personal stories," said Capt Mindy Davis, commander of the 147th/247th Financial Management Support Detachments

Participating in the Pride Festival provided the Minnesota National Guard with an opportunity to illustrate its commitment to inclusiveness and community engagement and for Soldiers to share their experiences with members of the community

"It feels tremendous," said Capt Tyler Bieniek of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion "It feels great to be part of an organization that has turned around so quickly, that has adopted and been so strong and resilient"

June 30, 2015
by Sgt Daphnee Pierre
347th Regional Support Group



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