Lexi’s Story

· LGBTQ+, Military, Stories · Danielle ShepherdLeave a Comment

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Meet Lexi: air force second Lieutenant and LGBTQ+ Advocate

Submitted as part of our Do Ask. Do Tell. Cause Campaign. Read More →

Q: What does Only Human mean to you?

A: Only Human is a great, caring organization that, from my interactions, is focused on accepting and caring for one another. My takeaways from interactions with Only Human have been that it is so important to see every person as a human being, as opposed to one facet of who they are.

Q: How would you describe serving in the military?

A: I'm a second lieutenant in the Air Force. I can only speak to my personal experience being in public affairs, which has honestly been a privilege. I've been active duty for just over a year now, and I love my job and the folks I work with. I've been able to see some pretty great things like the creation of a team this summer to focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives here at Luke, as well as a Pride flight last June that celebrated LGBTQ+ members conducted by two pilots in the community.

Q: Why did you decide to serve?

A: I have always thought that public service would be a good fit for me when I was growing up. I found out my school, Boston University, had an awesome ROTC program, and thought I would see what it was about. It was hard at times, taking extra classes and doing military training, but the people were amazing, and I would not be in the military without my classmates. I made my best friends in college through ROTC and earned a scholarship my second year in the program. Two years later, I was awarded my dream job of public affairs, and after graduation I ended up moving here!

Q: What is the most rewarding and challenging part of being a LGBTQ+ military member?

A: One of my favorite experiences was this past June, when two pilots who are members of the community conducted a flight over the base for Pride. I helped escort the journalist onto the base and flight line, where I sat in on the interviews with the pilots, both of whom have been in for several years. It was great to see them speak about Don't Ask, Don't Tell being a thing of the past, and how they were proud to be able to talk about their families and relationships in the workplace as gay men without fear of reprisal. That they were able to discuss being out to the world while representing the military was a unique and formative experience for me as a junior officer who had only fairly recently come out.

Q: What is the intersectionality like being part of both the LGBTQ+ community and military community?

A: The military community is a tight-knit one, and have been warm and accepting in my experience, but having that community of other LGBTQ+ members as a support system, for me, has been absolutely invaluable.

Q: How can the community support LGBTQ+ individuals that are currently service members in our armed forces or veterans?

A: I would say to look past a person's uniform, and treat them like a person. Everyone has their own story to tell, and sometimes all someone needs is a person to listen to them.

**These views are her own, and not those of any organization she is a part of.**