Celebration marks first Gay Pride Week in Fayetteville
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FAYETTEVILLE--Almost one year after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the city that's home to the nation's biggest army base is out and proud.
But the goal and meaning behind Fayetteville's first ever Gay Pride Week is much deeper.
"We're just like every family on the block, we just wanna be treated like everyone else," said military spouse Ashley Broadway.
Broadway's partner of 14 years is about to become a lieutenant colonel in the army.
But because they are a same-sex couple, they've spent $500,000 dollars over that period making up for the benefits other military families get that they don't.
"You see people have full equality, but I don't. And I hope it ends, because how am I gonna explain that to our son when he's four or five, why is mom treated differently than other people's mothers? So yeah, it hurts,” said Broadway.
Like many other gay couples, Broadway and her spouse just want the same rights as everyone else.
For the first time in Fayetteville, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are openly celebrating this week with various events, forums, and parties.
The message is one of openness, acceptance, and educating people that their lives aren't much different than straight couples and families.
“Show people we're not everything different than you are, we have dogs, a nice house, love fun, it's the same as being heterosexual, nothing much different,” said Mausjohn Prescott.
“First time I went to a pride event I took that step, walked out in public, this is who I am. Feeling of love acceptance, community, family was overwhelming. And I hope everyone who comes here has the same feeling," said Storm Silvermane, President of The Alliance.
LGBT partners like Broadway recognize the progress. She was the first same-sex partner to be invited to the White House on Mother's Day and met First Lady Michelle Obama.
But she recognizes that there is still a struggle for equality.
"For the first time I felt accepted, by other military families, and felt important, but then reality set in when I came home, still lots of work to do," said Broadway.
For more information and a schedule of events, go to The Alliance