U.S. troops take part in LGBT Pride Month reception at U.S. Embassy in Tokyo

TOKYO — Master Sgt. Marc Maschhoff revels in the turns his life has taken in the last year.

Last summer, Maschhoff had to keep his sexuality a secret or risk being kicked out of the Air Force.

On Monday, he was happily introducing his boyfriend to diplomats and politicians from around the world as the U.S. ambassador to Japan held a reception in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month.

“I can’t believe I’ve been in the Air Force 23 years living in secret, hiding who I am,” Maschhoff said before heading to the reception, which was closed to the media, “and now I’m invited to a reception by the emissary of the president of the United States.”

It was an exciting and emotional night for Maschhoff and a handful of other U.S. servicemembers. Maschhoff traveled with his boyfriend — who is also an airman — from Misawa Air Base in northern Japan to Tokyo for the event. Maschhoff said he was invited by the embassy because of his affiliation with the group Outserve, a Washington, D.C.-based association for gay servicemembers with chapters worldwide.

U.S. embassies around the world are hosting events this month to honor the struggles and contributions of the LGBT community.

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