Nathan Mallory of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in the rural farming community of Titusville. Not wanting to remain in a small town, Nate enlisted in the United States Air Force in 2000–the first in his family to serve in the military, and as an Eagle Scout, he was well prepared.

Nate trained as a security officer. For the majority of his six-year enlistment, he was stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico (with one deployment to Kuwait) as an elite security controller credentialed with the highest security clearances within the nuclear arsenal.

By all accounts, Nate’s professional career in the Air Force was exemplary and distinguished, and he received numerous awards and commendations for his service. However, as a gay man Nathan’s career was always in jeopardy of punitive treatment by the military.

Speaking of the military’s anti-gay policy prior to and during the time he served, Nate says, “It was fear driven, instilled through ignorance . . . now, we have a whole lot more to worry about than gays in the military.”