Today, hundreds of Veterans are in D.C. for a Veterans Lobby Day to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This lobby day was organized to push Congress to include language repealing DADT in the National Defense Authorization Act which is just beginning to be drafted. These vets are voicing what so many of us, including top officials in the Pentagon, believe – it is past time to end this out dated and discriminatory policy.
Some of the veterans are addressing Congress face-to-face today and are telling their personal stories of how DADT has affected their lives. The San Diego Gay & Lesbian News has an excellent profile series on 7 local vets who are speaking to Congress today about their experiences. One such profile is of Jason Daniel Knight. Knight was discharged from the military not once, but twice, under DADT.
[Knight] would now be the first openly gay member of the active duty forces to serve in a war zone.
For a full year – out in the sand-pit of Kuwait – Knight lived in the close quarters of a big, hot, open “shed,” with 50 bunk beds and 99 other bunk-mates, but no one cared that he was gay.
He got promoted to CT2 (E-5) and gained more accolades and awards. He even served as the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) representative, organizing interactive and popular social events to boost his fellow sailors, soldiers and marines in the region during downtime.
Knight was now proving that being openly gay was NOT incompatible with military service, even in a war zone. However, his lesson didn’t last for long.
As a Conservative libertarian, USAF veteran, and Hellenic Pagan I fully support the call to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and allow Gays to openly serve in our Armed Forces. As a Conservative I think that private matters, such as what consenting adults do with each other, are just that – private – and should be of no concern to the State.
As a veteran, I have served with Airmen that I knew were gay and it didn’t make a bit of difference to me. While I served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm I was under OSI investigation for being gay. I was never sure if the OSI honestly thought I was gay or if they put me under investigation in an attempt to force me to give testimony against my best friend. Unless you have been under an OSI investigation, you have no idea how much pressure can be brought to bear on you. Neither I, nor our fellow Airmen serving in Zaragoza Air Base, gave up one single name to the OSI during the entire 2 year investigation.
As a Hellenic Pagan, I find the justification for discrimination against Gays as being unfit for military service or a detriment to morale laughable. You won’t find a more bad ass group of soldiers in history as the Spartans. Gay relationships and military training were one and the same in Sparta and they sacrificed to Eros before battle to honor those bonds of love and brotherhood. I don’t think anyone could accuse the Spartans, or any of the other Greek city-states, of having a military that wasn’t ready for battle or had morale issues because their military members engaged in homosexual sex.
I’m not in DC today but I am doing what I can to make my voice heard in Congress. I am participating in a Virtual Lobby Day organized by the Servicemembers United and the Human Rights Campaign. I will be calling my Senators and Representatives and letting them know that “I support the Veterans Lobby Day that’s happening today and I urge Congress to repeal DADT this year.”
Join us for Virtual Lobby Day this Tuesday May 11.
Set aside a few minutes to make a call to Congress. Help us flood the Congressional switchboard (202-224-3121) with calls this Tuesday, May 11. Tell your reps to “Repeal DADT this year!”
Follow Eric Alva and other vets on Twitter to get real-time updates from our meetings with members of Congress. Just follow Eric Alva (@EricAlvaUSMC), David Hall (@davidhalldc), Mike Almy (@mikealmy), Brian Fricke (@brianfricke), or @HRCBackStory.
Join the conversation on Twitter and call for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by including #DADT in your tweets between now and Tuesday.
Become a Fan on Facebook – Stay up to date on the latest DADT & LGBT news on HRC’s Facebook Fan Page.
Help us flood Congress with phone calls TODAY in support of the hundreds of brave men and women meeting with lawmakers right now.
It will only take a few minutes to call your Members of Congress.
Want to make some calls but don’t know what the telephone number is for your Senator or congressperson? Go here for a list of Senate phone numbers and here for a list of Representative’s phone numbers.