As a lesbian I’ve heard more than a few stories from women who have been forced to leave the military because of who they love and how they love. I know women whose plans for a military career were needlessly cut short, my spouse included.
I’ve heard horror stories – told years later, yet still so charged with emotion that tears flow – of being found out, of standing in front of a commanding officer demanding to know, “Are you a homosexual?”
Law abiding citizens willing to put their lives on the line for their country being treated as less than, as not normal, as deficient, as a threat to their country’s security
Shame on you, U.S. military.
I can’t imagine the sheer amount of talent, drive, and contribution that’s been lost to the armed forces because of policies based on fear and ignorance, created and enforced by those who would think that lesbians and gays in the military would weaken, not strengthen us.
Since I’m older, most of those stories precede the military’s current “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, established in 1994, which essentially says you can serve if you are gay, but you better keep it quiet or out you go. Some saw DADT as progress but it is not. It still treats gay and lesbian people as less than whole, as if something is wrong with us.
So I applaud the injunction ordered today by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ordering the military to immediately halt worldwide its ban on gay and lesbian people openly serving in the military, boldly declaring that DADT is unconstitutional.
For me, this has nothing to do with whether or not you or I oppose or support any current wars. This is about the constitution and supporting equal rights under the law for all.
So I cheer the ruling as a step in recognizing gay people as full citizens in this country, with all the rights and obligations that come with that privilege. I feel a sense of redemption for all who have been hurt or demeaned by the military’s fear and ignorance.
And I hope, really hope, that the Obama administration – my president’s administration – will not appeal it. President Obama, you told us on the campaign trail that you opposed DADT. As President you have yet to show us that you mean it.
Change. Hope. Remember all that?
Mr. President, now is your moment. Now is your time to walk your talk.
This post was written by Ann Freeman and originally published on Upside My Head (Pay Attention Now).