The reaction to a soldier and his boyfriend at a military prom shows how far we've come.

Andres Camilo, a National Guardsman, recently came out as gay to the entire world.

In June 2016, he made a quick (and quite adorable) appearance in a YouTube video created by his boyfriend, model and filmmaker Max Emerson, where he proudly announced:

"I guess with this video, I'm coming out to the military."


That's Camilo on the right. GIF via Max Emerson/YouTube.

Shortly after, Camilo was promoted to captain — with Emerson by his side.

It was an immensely proud moment for the couple on many levels.

At the time, Camilo wrote on Facebook:

"When I joined the Army 11 years ago and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was in full effect, I was constantly hiding who I was for fear of losing my career. I would have never expected that my soldiers and the man I love would be in the same room cheering to my career."

Last night, my boyfriend was part of my promotion to Captain. When I joined the Army 11 years ago and the "Don't Ask,...

Posted by Andrés Camilo on Sunday, November 20, 2016

The next step for the couple, as in all serious relationships: going to prom together.

Specifically, a gala held by the organization Knights Out, which embraces and supports LGBT soldiers.

My date is the best! #GayArmyProm

A post shared by Andrés Camilo (@andrescamilo___) on

The photos of the beaming couple at the ball went viral and inspired an outpouring of love and support from commenters.

Comments via Camilo's Instagram.

If it seems weird to be celebrating something as simple as two gay men attending a function together, just think — it wouldn't have been possible even six years ago.

As recently as 2011, openly gay men and women were unable to serve in the U.S. armed forces. The official policy, "Dont Ask, Don't Tell," meant superiors weren't supposed to actively seek out or investigate anyone's sexual orientation, but coming out of the closet was out of the question.

After the policy was repealed, a slew of soldiers, including high-ranking officers, were finally able to come out after years of hiding.

If the reaction to Camilo's posts shows anything, it's that all members of the military — gay, straight, or otherwise — have our support.

Camilo's willingness to continue sharing his relationship on social media indicates his brothers and sisters in the armed forces are likely accepting of his lifestyle and proud to serve alongside him.

It may seem like a minor victory now, but the battle for equality in the armed forces has been a long, hard-fought battle.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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