Friday, September 23, 2011

The end of a shameful era: Don't Ask Don't Tell is OVER!

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the go-to place for GLBTQ military issues

I really enjoyed this Huffington Post article by Major Casey Moes, especially her acknowledgement of how now she can be the authentic, honest soldier she teaches others to be:

"Personally, I will be able to serve as that mentor and example that was previously so difficult to find, with all my Army values intact. Being out and honest about my partner and my life will allow me to look inwardly and know that I can fulfill what I have taught to cadets and soldiers. Now, I have finished with the compromising of self and the half-truths. I will be building that stronger stock and character again in myself."
Members of the military who are queer can now come out without fear of being discharged, and those who have been discharged for being GLBTQ can re-enlist.  (And Lt. Dan Choi already has this on his blog: 
"Arabic Linguist.
Iraq Veteran.
West Point Graduate.
Infantry Officer.
Gay... Fired... and Re-Enlisting!

There's also a nice video here with another gay army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Burton (isn't it amazing how no one needs to be anonymous anymore?), speaking about the end of DADT, and what that means to him.

And while there are still inequities to fight (spouses / partners of gay and lesbian military personnel are not yet acknowledged nor legally included in the benefits/coverage/responsibilities that straight spouses receive, and we still need an executive order prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, it is definitely cause for celebration!

You can help by signing this petition to encourage President Obama to issue that order!

Here's the Obama campaign's video about the end of DADT:

And one more piece of good news: Melvin Dwork, a gay WWII veteran, has had his Navy discharge changed from "Undesirable" to "Honorable."

Melvin Dwork gets some justice at last

**Addendum 9/23/11 7:56 AM**

Sadly, there is some backlash to our new right to be equal to heterosexual members of the military - check out this article (and video) of a gay soldier being booed at the Florida Republican debate yesterday - and Rick Santorum's complete lie about the current policy being "special rights" for gay people, and that no one should be talking about sex in the military, gay or straight.  (Um, Rick - soldiers were fired for being honest about who they are and who they loved.  Not for talking about sex while they worked.  And more than 14,000 service members have been fired under the law since 1993.)  And shame as well on the other eight Republican Presidential hopefuls (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney) for not one of them calling the audience on booing a gay soldier serving in Iraq, and for not one of them acknowledging that soldier and the sacrifices and risks he's taken to be part of our military.  

I'm so glad DADT is over, but clearly we have to be vigilant moving forward, because there are those who want to move us backwards.



maddox said...

This definitely marks a milestone in progress, and thanks for tracking down the interesting stories.

However, please remember that it's not GLBT soldiers than can re-enlist, just GLB, because being Transgender or Transsexual is still considered a "medical disorder" and sufficient grounds for ineligibility or discharge. We still have a fight to fight so let's keep going.

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Maddox, thanks for adding that clarity about the lack of equal status for Transgender military personnel. Still more to do...