By Pfc. Collin S. MacKown
14th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT CARSON, Colorado – The soldiers come from all walks of life. After “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in 2011, the military adopted a modern mindset for the inclusion of soldiers in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer + (LGBTQ) community.
CPS. Sevyn Guerra, human resources specialist at 4th Infantry Division Headquarters and Battalion Headquarters, is a 28-year-old woman from Palm Beach, Fla., Who was raised by her grandmother.
While in basic combat training, Guerra remembers one of her combat buddies saying, “You are (going) to marry a man, have children with him and realize that you are not happy. “
“I always knew I was gay, but I never fully accepted it,” Guerra said.
At the age of 19, she was openly dating a woman, but Guerra’s family hated it at the time.
They were old fashioned and very religious.
“They avoided me, so I went back to the ‘closet’ and dated men for a while,” she said.
For five years, Guerra forced herself to be straight because of what her family thought.
“I just wanted my family to accept me and stay my family,” Guerra said. “I just wanted an easy life; I knew that marrying a man and having children with a man is much easier and more tolerant than saying “oh here is my wife! I was afraid of what everyone might think.
Guerra recalled the exact month and year she became gay.
“I was released in June 2020,” Guerra said. “Almost a year ago. “
At 27, she finally feels herself.
While the military may be known to be an old-fashioned, tradition-based organization, the people who helped Guerra the most were his fellow soldiers.
Sgt. Savannah Mae McMullin, Combat Management System Operator with Division Artillery, 4th Inf. Div., Recalled a moment during Advanced Individual Training (AIT) when she heard about the legalization of same-sex marriage at the federal level.
“I was 18 and I remember the joy I felt,” McMullin said. “When I came back from AIT, I told my mom and my stepfather. “
Sadly, McMullin’s stepfather had a different take on same-sex marriage at the time.
“He didn’t want to hurt me at the time, but my stepdad said, ‘I just don’t think it’s a real marriage. Honestly, it was just the way he was raised, ”McMullin said.
Over the years, McMullin’s stepfather has become supportive of his sexuality. He went from not seeing same-sex marriage as a legitimate form of marriage to asking McMullin if he could walk him down the aisle to his wedding.
“He’s probably my biggest supporter, but quietest in his own way,” McMullin said.
McMullin is one of the many soldiers in the Army who have helped Guerra be herself and focus on what matters.
“I think something Guerra always noticed about me is the fact that I would never back down,” said McMullin. “If someone asks me about my sexuality, I’m still confident and honest about my marriage and who I am as a person.”
McMullin said allies are an incredibly important part of the LGBTQ + community.
“It doesn’t have to be someone with a pride flag,” McMullin said. “An ally is anyone who stands by our side and puts an end to any negative agenda against us. “
Fortunately in the military, the support system is growing every year.
“If I hadn’t had a support system coming out, I couldn’t have done it,” McMullin said. “I would probably be a false version of myself all my life.”
One of the most important aspects of being an ally is to help normalize everything related to the LGBTQ + community.
“An ally is very important to me because even in 2021, being gay is still looked down upon by a lot of people,” Guerra said. “It’s great to have people supporting you and telling you that you are not alone. “