Gina Ortiz Jones is a veteran of the United States Air Force who served in the Iraq War. While running for the U.S. House of Representatives, to serve Texas’ 23rd Congressional District in 2018, Gina spoke frequently and openly about being an out lesbian and a first-generation American. While she did not ultimately win her race for Congress, she left an impact on Texas as an out LGBTQ person.
An important part of Gina’s life was serving in the U.S. military under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which prohibited open service for lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members. She entered the Air Force with an ROTC Scholarship at Boston University, and immediately upon enlisting, she had to sign a letter agreeing not to engage in “homosexual behavior.” “For me, receiving the type of education I knew I wanted was also dependent on me hiding who I was,” Gina said. “It was difficult from the beginning, but I knew that, and I wanted a quality education, and I wanted to serve my country, so that’s what it was. My whole job was to make sure I wasn’t found out.”