Monday, 29 August 2016
In December 2011 this became the most famous same-sex quayside kiss. (See this blog, http://genderedseas.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/lesbian-sailors-famous-kiss.html).
In part the greeting celebrated the lifting of the US military's much criticised Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
The picture became so famous that the couple were invited to San Diego Pride and much featured in the New York media. But they 'didn't want to be poster children for a movement.'
Now a journalist has revisited the couple: former Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta and Lali Snell.
Courtney Mabeus of the Virginian-Pilot has today published this article, 'Whatever happened to couple who had Navy's 1st gay homecoming kiss? The full version can be read here: http://okinawa.stripes.com/news/whatever-happened-couple-who-had-navys-1st-gay-homecoming-kiss
Snell said that after the picture was published they 'got some hate mail along with some letters of support, calling the couple inspirational and courageous ... at a visit to a Target store in Virginia Beach ... a family recognized the couple and shook their hands. "It's nice having that positive reinforcement ... It reminds you there's still kindness in the world," she told Courtney.
LEAVING THE NAVY
Both women have left the navy - and each other. It's mainly because of long deployments apart - which are a key problem in almost every naval relationship. They had only a week together in 2011.
Lali said the photo 'added pressure ... "I almost felt we were going to let people down."' They parted in summer 2012.
Marissa is now planning to become a nurse. Lali is studying to become a forensic pathologist. She's engaged to a a male, a former sailor; they have a three-year-old son.
IMPORTANT PHOTO IN LGBT & NAVAL HISTORY
Both women are still in touch and 'speak of each other fondly.... Neither regret that first kiss.
'"I think it was such a big moment in, you know, history for the Navy and for the LGBT community so, I'm OK with it,"' Lali affirmed.'
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