By Stephfon Guidry
A Groom, an Officer and a Gentleman…
14,000! Approximately that many men and women serving our country in 1993, under the Bill Clinton administration lost their jobs as military servicemen to “Don’t Ask Don’t tell”. As of September 20, 2011, DADT has officially been repealed. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was a policy created by the Defense Department that mandated that no openly homosexual servicemen were enlisted and sexual orientation was not discussed for enrollment in military duty. Silence, seemed such a powerful government policy for almost a decade and now in 2011 as states vote for and against same-sex marriage DADT is now repealed.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal sparks many celebrations. Military men are becoming married men or at least planning on it as the repeal on DADT goes into effect. “It’s a reminder that — as broken as Washington is and as long as change can take — people and organizations can do amazing things when they work together and never waver from the vision that unites them,” Jim Messina. Campaign Manager, Obama for America. President Barrack H. Obama promotes positive change in his campaign and as election season comes with his repeal of DADT.
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may be gone but the war is not over now in the coming days, weeks, and months it’s time for many of these closeted Military men and women to find the courage to be open. As there is more visibility and voice from military personnel there will be more of permanence to the repeal. Because as CNN.com writes, “Though repeal of DADT was won, there are Americans, specifically some GOP presidential candidates, who would reinstate it”.
Now that gay military personnel can be visible, in my view, they should be. In short, with “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” gone, it’s time to tell.” As the doubts roll in on who will come out of the closet, many military personnel have already taken bold steps like a 25-year-old Air Force officer, named Lt. Joshua David Seefried. Lt. Joshua David Seefried took his muted voice, as DADT was still in effect, and began Outserve, the underground network for gay military personnel. In lieu of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Lt. Joshua David Seefried updates his Facebook to reflect his sexual orientation and boldly stated, “Those are things I feel like I should do because I guess that is what a leader would do. If we all stay in the closet and don’t act brave, then the next generation won’t have any progress” Know that change is something that takes time, needs dedication, and requires tenacity thanks to many military men and women of all sexual orientations protecting our freedoms and rights I can say it gets better!