Eight months after a repeal of the military's "don't ask , don't tell" policy, the US academytoday graduated its first group of openly gay cadets.
As President Obama addressed the graduates, no rainbow flags could be seen on display. The LGBT students couldn't be picked out of the crowd of white and blue.
But gay and lesbian advocates, academy alums, school officials and current students said they were there.
"The whole thing is we don't want to be identified as anything different," said Trish Heller, who heads the Blue Alliance, an association of LGBT Air Force Academy alumni. "We want to serve, to be professional and to be symbols of what it means to be air force academygraduates."
Heller said her group had connected with at least four members of the class of 2012 receiving diplomas today who had come out publicly as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. There were likely others, but they preferred to keep a low-profile, she said.
Conversations with dozens of current academy students and some new graduates presented a picture of a smooth transition from the military's ban on openly gay service members serving to the repeal of that ban. There have been no major incidents of overt discrimination or harassment since the policy was repealed in September.