Former U.S. Army Sgt. Danny Ingram was one the first officers discharged under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
Ingram's commanding officer asked him if he was gay before the policy was set. "He asked if I was gay, and I replied," says Ingram, now the president of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) Georgia chapter. "So my discharge was already under way when they came up with the policy. They put my case on hold in the fall of 1993 when they were considering that policy, and it started back up again after it was implemented."
Ingram was discharged in April 1994, five months after the policy took effect. He'll be in Memphis this weekend to recruit members for a Tennessee AVER chapter and to serve as color guard in the annual Mid-South Pride parade. The parade kicks off at First Congregational Church at 3 p.m. and follows Cooper to Peabody Park, where a gay pride festival will be ongoing.
The festival, which begins at noon, will feature Ingram performing "Taps" in honor of fallen gay solider and AVER member Maj. Alan G. Rogers. There also will be a Mid-South Pride Idol karaoke contest, vendors, and beer tent.
On Sunday, Mid-South Pride and Memphis Black Pride will come together for an all-day "Unity Picnic" in Overton Park.
Mid-South Pride, Sat.-Sun., June 20-21. For a complete schedule, go to midsouthpride.org.