BOSTON (WHDH) - The Boston Office of Veterans Services hosted a “serving with pride” celebration aboard the USS Constitution honoring LGBTQ+ veterans and giving them an opportunity to share their stories.

Boston’s first openly gay Veterans’ Services Commissioner, Robert Santiago, said that he is grateful he can now speak openly about his identity.

“Military applicants were not to be asked about their sexual orientation. This policy as I stated was called ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ but this was just smoke and mirrors and it didn’t protect discharges of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Finally on September 20 of 2011 ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was repealed,” said Santiago.

Organizers hope events like this increase the visibility about the contributions that LGBTQ veterans made to the country.

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