LGBT alumni from two of the oldest state-supported military colleges in the U.S. have now consolidated their outreach efforts, aiming to increase communication and support.
As part of their collaboration, the Charleston, S.C., Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance (Citadel GALA) the Virginia Military Institute Gay and Lesbian Alliance (VMI GALA) in Lexington, Va., have consolidated their web presence at citadelvmigala.org. Though both groups will continue to operate separately, they say their joint outreach will better serve their mission.
Organizers of the two groups say they have grown closer over the past 10 years, sharing a common goal of supporting LGBT alumni from both schools and working to ensure safe and welcoming environments for LGBT cadets, faculty, staff and alumni. Though neither school was officially bound to enforce the military’s former “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, repealed in 2011, many LGBT students at the schools had been forced to live in silence as they completed ROTC training in hopes of a military commission after graduation.
Over the past 10 years both groups have shared the common goal of supporting The Citadel and VMI LGBT community by creating opportunities for communication and support between GALA members. Additionally, GALA members strive to work with The Citadel –The Military College of South Carolina and The Virginia Military Institute to ensure safe and welcoming environments for LGBT cadets, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Membership to the group is open to all Citadel and VMI graduates, cadets, former students, day/evening students, faculty, staff, and individuals that have other Citadel and VMI connections.