Some 39 years Tom Gallagher (Ethiopia 1962-64) became the first Foreign Service Officer, and the first officer of any government in the world, to voluntarily come out of the closet. That was no small moment in time. It cost Tom his career in the State Department.
Now it is Wednesday, November 28, 2012 and Tom and other are gathered in the diplomatic reception room at the State Department -arguably the most beautiful room in the Western Hemisphere where the Secretary of State welcomes visiting kings, presidents, etc. Tom is there to celebrate the 20th anniversary of GLIFAA, the gay organization for foreign affairs agencies in Washington. The Washington Gay Mens’ Chorus has just finished singing the Star Spangled Banner in four part harmony. Next, the Secretary of State speaks out about her solid support for gay rights at the State Department and worldwide, and Tom is thinking: ”Wow, we’ve come a long way, baby!” In that address, some 16 minutes and 12 seconds into the video, she turns and recognizes Tom and talks about this Ethiopia One Volunteer, Tom Gallagher, and what he has done for the State Department, for America, for the world. You might want to listen. We all have a lot to learn. Thanks, Tom.