The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is quickly approaching. On September 20th the repeal and certification process officially is complete and the sexuality that a person is born will no longer be grounds for discharge. As we approach this historic day that marks the end of seventeen years of institutionalized discrimination former and active duty service members are telling their stories of how they made it through and what it was like to endure.
GQ magazine has collected some of these stories and presents them here.
Like the story of Eric Alva, the first American injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When Alva signed up, before "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," he had to lie on his paperwork. "I knew I was lying," he says. "But I loved what I did, I loved my job, and I didn’t want to tell anyone. I said, ‘It’s going to be my secret.’ I knew I was not going to be happy in a way, but I knew this was what I wanted." In 2003 he was deployed to the Middle East, and on March 21 he crossed the border from Kuwait. His unit was part of a huge convoy that stopped outside Basra. Alva got out of his Humvee and went to fetch something from the back of the vehicle. "That’s when I triggered the IED. I was awake, my hearing was sort of gone. My hand was covered in blood and part of my index finger was gone. The chaplain was holding my head and I was telling him I didn’t want to die. I was taken off a helicopter in Kuwait—it was estimated that I was only in Iraq about three hours—and carried into surgery. I woke up later and when I looked down I saw that the right side of my sheet was flat. I cried myself asleep, only to wake up hours later and see that it’s true: My leg is gone."
DADT not only affected the lives of those who risked their lives on the battlefield. It also took a toll on those they loved.
"The relationship lasted for about four years, but I always felt like I was disrespecting him, to have to pretend he didn’t exist when I went to work. When I got deployed, he was there with my family when I left. It kind of sucked—to shake his hand and a little pat on the back and ‘I’ll see you when I see you’ kind of thing. And when you’re getting ready to come back, the spouses were getting classes—here’s how you welcome your Marine back into the family—and my boyfriend didn’t get any of that. I had a really hard time adjusting to being home. We tried to make it work for a year but he was getting more and more paranoid about people finding out about us. It killed me that he felt that way because of me. I don’t think we ever really had a chance, ultimately."
For some DADT became the weapon used by haters.
The harassment grew worse. Of a number of escalating events—Rocha was also force-fed dog food and locked into a shit-filled dog kennel—the most abusive and explicitly homophobic was when he was ordered by his commander to act in a dog-training scenario, repeated over and over so that every dog in the unit could be run through it. "The scenarios were supposed to be relevant to what the dogs or the handlers would experience. Like a domestic dispute, or an armed individual who has been spotted on the base, or someone strapped with explosives. This day he chose that the scenario would be that I would be getting caught giving another service member a blow job and, once the dogs came in, I was supposed to jump up from having been in between this guy’s legs. He would coach as to how exactly he wanted it played out, which was the sickest part of it." Rocha says he had to act this out between half a dozen and a dozen times, about fifteen to twenty minutes each time. As they repeated it, his commander ordered Rocha to make the scenario more extreme. "He wanted me to be very queer and flamboyant. He wanted me to pretend like there was stuff on my face. Loving it so much that each scenario was gayer and more disgusting—the introduction of fake semen, that I would have to wipe my face, or that I would have to make slurping noises. The level of humiliation I experienced that day, that’s when I knew I wasn’t safe in the military."
I highly recommend heading over there and reading more http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/201109/dont-ask-dont-tell-gay-soldiers-military#ixzz1WAXDJMrl
The National Organization for Marriage just can’t seem to understand that if a religious organization wants to discriminate against a group of people based on sexual orientation they probably shouldn’t get into bed with the state. Now they are attacking an article in the editorial section of the Chicago Sun-Times.
I post this comment here because NOM is so afraid of civil debate that they don’t allow me to post in their comments.
Is this the family you want in the White House? A family that advocates “praying away the gay”; a practice that is dangerous and harmful.
Congratulations to the state of New York for standing up for the civil rights of it’s people. Marriage Equality has passed the state Senate 33-29. The bill passed the state Assembly earlier this week and amendments created by the Senate were passed earlier today 80-49.
The Anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage is calling it a huge GOP betrayal. Commenters on their site are having a coronary. This makes New York the 6th state to allow same sex couples to marry.
NOM is now also planning to spend $2 million from donors that they refuse to disclose in violation of the disclosure laws of several states like Iowa and Maine to defeat the GOP state senators who did the right thing tonight.
Apparently the National Organization for Marriage can’t tell Kindergartners from 4th graders. Yesterday I received this email in my inbox.
See that line where Brian says…
an Oakland grade school decided to teach kindergartners about multiple genders
Trouble is, when you click on the video and watch it the Fox News reporter actually says they are 4th graders. Honest mistake or is Brian trying to scare people again?
Here is the video.
A. McEwen over at Holly Bullies has a pretty good break down of the rest of the letter and the lies that it contains. Strangely enough however is that every time someone points outs lies like this NOM and others like them play the victim card and claim that we are trying to silence them. Sort of like Newt Gingrich claiming that any news organization quoting his Meet the Press interview where he trashes the Ryan Plan is a lie.
Oh, and as for whether this material is appropriate for a forth grade class… absolutely. This is no different than showing a book or having a class teaching kids that there is nothing wrong with being White, Black, Hispanic, Red Headed, Blue Eyed, wearing glasses, being Christian, or Muslim, etc, etc.