Do Tell: From accepted to included

  • Published
  • By Amn. Malik I. Christian
  • 8th Force Support Squadron

Being in the Air Force, like anything else, is all about what you make it.

I recently enlisted because I wanted to travel, learn about different cultures, further my education and to be a part of something bigger than myself.

I am of Afro-Caribbean decent and love to share my culture with others and learn about other cultures as well. I’ve only been at my first base for four months and I already feel like I have gained knowledge through getting to know my wingmen and their own cultures and ideologies. Having Kunsan Air Base as my first duty station, I am learning a lot about Korean culture and discovering new and different perspectives.

Currently I’m focused on mastering the skills that I learned in tech school as I know they will be useful to me in my career and personal endeavors. Once settled, I’m looking forward to using tuition assistance to complete my associate degree.  

In last week’s commentary, Christian Bridgman’s words stood out to me, “I firmly believe in the inherent connection that unites us all, transcending our diverse backgrounds.” I can’t help but agree as I do feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself especially because we are all so different, but we are all here for the same mission.

I started my journey, like all enlisted Airmen, at Basic Training, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.

I was wary about how I would be treated as a member of the LGBTQ+ community during my time in BMT and throughout my career in the Air Force. In high school I was not bullied; however, I only felt accepted. In the Air Force I have felt included. The first time I realized this was when my element leader pulled me aside to discuss my identity and I shared my truth. I was never treated for worse or for better after that. I was just Trainee Christian. He reassured me that nothing would change and that we are still very good friends.

So far, I am enjoying the Air Force and all it has to offer. I am learning a lot about myself and life as well as meeting a lot of people and making relationships that I feel will last a lifetime.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the adage “nothing is perfect” and understand there is always room for improvement. 

I have not experienced a lot of discrimination and was met with more acceptance than I anticipated when I enlisted in the Air Force. However, that is not the case for all our wingmen.

Since this is my first Pride Month in the military, I’m interested to experience it with other LGBTQ+ Airmen here at the Wolf Pack. I’m hoping to share useful information for and about the community to help educate fellow Airmen and broaden their perspectives.

Nothing is perfect but if my time in the Air Force is what I make it, I plan on doing great things while I am in. I want to continue to serve overseas to see more of the world. I am also excited to see how much the Air Force evolves over time and continue to make great memories.