“It takes a village to raise a child.” This saying is true for military families all over the world. Our villages are located everywhere — from the folk villages of South Korea to sunny beach of California. Each move our military families make, they are welcomed by a new village because the bond of military families is one that is indescribable. With every change in our LGBT military families’ lives, there are thoughts of uncertainty. Will I be welcome? Will I be accepted? Can I adjust to this change? Our LGBT children rely on our military community and our allies for reassurance. Our children face an uphill battle and fight for understanding along the way. They do this with the help of the military children that takes them into their village. And as Month of the Military Child ends, I want to send a special message to our incredible military children who happen to be LGBT.


 

Dear LGBT Military Child,

You did not choose this life. It can be hard to move, to have a parent deploy or just to be in an area where you don’t feel welcome. I know that it is filled with many emotions, but dear sweet LGBT military child — I am proud of you. I am proud of you for choosing to embrace this crazy military life and everything that comes with it. I know there have been times when you have had to do your homework with none of your household goods or without a parent being there to help you. I know that you have slept on air mattresses and in hotels in route to your new home. I know that you don’t like leaving your friends, your tribe. Change can be hard.

Strong military child, although change is hard, you are the conversation starter to make that positive change happen.  As a part of the LGBT military community, there are battles you face that other military children don’t have to. You understand that some areas are not as welcoming to our community, and that, at times, you have to be your own advocate, alongside your friends. They are your allies. You speak up and make your voice heard, because when one speaks up, it will echo and those who support you will follow suit.

Kind military child, it is hard to understand that sometimes not everyone fits into a box that society would like for us. You celebrate your differences and diversity. You are the colored crayon on a blank piece of paper. You accept and love those who may not be accepting and welcoming of you. Continue to be kind. Your kindness is contagious and will spread like a wild fire.

Military child, you are strong, you are kind, and you are resilient. While others may decide to label you, remember that you are someone to be described; not labeled. You are different than the average military child because you are constantly overcoming adversity, yet you bloom like a lotus flower does, not the dandelion. For a lotus flower can bloom in the muddiest conditions and thrive amidst adversity. I am so thankful and so proud to call you a military child.

With all my love,

Ashley Broadway-Mack
President
The American Military Partner Association