I joined the Marine Corps originally in 2009. I was kicked out under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and told that I’d never become a Marine. 4.5 years of recruiting offices, denials, paperwork, tears, and fighting I got my second chance to prove that I belonged. I completed recruit training a SECOND time and earned the title, graduating with an award. I was then one of the first female Marines to graduate infantry school.
Today, nearly TEN years later I’m currently writing this from Iraq (having some serious pride FOMO) proudly living the life I’ve worked so hard for. Pinning on Staff Sergeant in a few months and the future seems to have too many opportunities now. I am fortunate for those who paved the way, and for those who continue to support all of us. I choose to serve in a very out/Proud/honest way to ensure I provide an environment that everyone feels they can be themselves freely in. As I said in the New York Times blurb- If I can protect even just one service member from feeling isolated and ostracized, I have done something meaningful. Happy Pride, all! We have the watch over here 🏳️🌈
This story was submitted by a human named Ashley.