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California National Guard Finding Success With LGBT Community

Aug 9, 2013

Chief Warrant Officer Mario Garcia, right, joins other members of the California National Guard during the L.A. Pride Parade on June 9, 2013.
Credit California National Guard

The repeal of the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has opened up a new world of recruiting possibilities for the armed forces. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the California National Guard is interested in doing more than just complying with the law.

The California National Guard decided to lead the way when it came to recruiting gays and lesbians. Throughout the summer the Guard marched in Pride Parades around the state, carrying a banner that read, “Yes! We really do want you!!!”

Senior Master Sergeant Elaine Samborski is a recruiter for the Air National Guard. She says the response from the LGBT community has been very positive.

“Many of the stories that we hear are from people who were interested but, because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, made the decision not to join. We also have a large number of people who come to us who did serve and left because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and are now interested in coming back.” 

Samborksi says she’s not aware of any other state making a concerted effort to recruit within the LGBT community.