How an Airman’s Identity Continues to Shape How She Serves

By 2nd Lt. Christopher Sequeira

With June being Pride Month, a time when we celebrate the vibrant diversity within our nation’s military and its ranks, we recognize the individual contributions of the people who serve. Every service member’s unique identity is a cornerstone of the military’s collective strength and effectiveness, including Cecelia Slough, a member of the 163rd Attack Wing of the Air National Guard.

The origins of Pride Month trace back to the LGBTQ+ rights movement in 1969, and was officially celebrated by the federal government beginning in 1999. Since then, it has been celebrated in various iterations, and was most recently recognized as “LGBTQ Pride Month” in 2021.

Tech. Sgt. Cecelia Slough, a cyberspace operations specialist in the 163d Operations Support Squadron, shared her evolving perspective on Pride Month. As a teenager, she didn’t understand its significance. Over time, hearing the history and struggles of others brought her a newfound appreciation for recognizing Pride Month. Learning about the deep and storied history of the LGBTQ+ community within the military made her realize the importance of this celebration.

“We are here to be military members; we raised our right hand – same as everyone else,” Cecelia said.

With unwavering support from her family and friends, she followed in her father’s footsteps, enlisting in the Air National Guard in 2013. Reflecting on her timing, joining just after the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” she felt fortunate to be able to serve as her true self without fear.

Her first supervisor in the military was an incredible ally, treating her with the same respect and support as any other airman. This acceptance allowed her to thrive and focus on her duties in the Air Force without the burden of hiding her identity.

Cecelia emphasized the importance of being known by her fellow airmen.

“That’s the person you’re going to be working beside, possibly deploying beside. You want them to understand who you are at home. I think that’s the human behind the warfighter. We have to put on that [warfighter] face when we need to, but someone should know who you have at home that you’re fighting for.”

Cecelia’s motivation to serve is deeply rooted in her family. Her father, who retired as a master sergeant from the Pennsylvania Air National Guard, and her wife, a respiratory therapist in the 163d Medical Group, inspire her daily. Serving alongside her literal and chosen family makes her service even more meaningful and enjoyable.

As we honor Pride Month, we celebrate the courage and authenticity of airmen like Cecelia, who embody the true spirit of our military. Their stories remind us of the importance of embracing diversity and championing the rights of all who serve.

-This story was originally published on It has been edited for

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