Ann Freeman: Mr. President, we’re waiting on your Don’t Ask Don’t Tell decision…

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 shortmy 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).

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Ann Freeman on 10/13/2010 - 09:31 am.

    Laura, Thanks for the feedback and your take on the post! Glad that you know how you may plan to use it. Ann

  2. Submitted by Laura Gilbert on 10/13/2010 - 07:36 am.

    Thanks Ann for this poignant and to-the-point post. I’m forwarding this to friends and colleagues, and may use it in a graduate course I teach. I could really see this post as a starting point for discussion in many settings. Your approach sets the stage for discussion of many important topics – equal rights, leadership, changing deeply-embedded institutional culture, and of course the many aspects of the DADT decision. Thanks.

  3. Submitted by Bert Perry on 10/13/2010 - 03:00 pm.

    Actually, overturning DADT reinstates the code of military justice, under which certain acts are cause for removal. Whatever one’s position on homosexuality in the military, this belongs not to Mr. Obama, but rather to Congress.

    (as arguably it did back in 1994 with Clinton)

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