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
Denmark is the land of my ancestors and thanks to my Mother, Grandmother, and Great-Grandmother have a deep love for the country so it makes me very happy to hear that their legislature is finalizing a bill that will bring marriage equality to same-sex couples there this summer.
In 1989 Denmark became the first nation in the world to allow same-sex unions of any sort, and this bill will make them the 11th nation to provide full equality to the LGBT community.
1 January 1936: Copenhagen, Denmark; Christiansborg Palace
Having come to the conclusion that it was too late to head home the night before, Stefan Jorgenson had found his way to a small storage room where he had a cot set up for just such a necessity, where he had laid down, surrounded by stacks of office supplies and drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, Stefan awoke to the sound of someone rapping at the storeroom door. When he stood and opened it he was greeted by the smiling face of Almar, the 13 year old office boy that often ran errands for Stefan and others. “Sleeping in the closet again?”
“Obviously,” Stefan replied.
“It’s nearly 6 o’clock. Would you like me to run and get you some breakfast from kitchens? Anne is probably all ready got some eggs cooking.”
“That sounds like an excellent idea ‘mar. I’ll be at my desk.” The young lad smiled again before turning around to disappear down a flight of nearby stairs. Stefan straightened out his clothes and hair and headed down the hallway to his office. Despite the New Year’s holiday the day was expected to be a very busy one. As he sat down at his small oak desk he looked across the room at the grandfather clock. He only had about an hour to get ready for the King’s morning briefing.
Stefan quickly opened the night safe and pulled out a large file of papers and began thumbing through the reports from the various government ministers. He was just starting to read through the first report, which was from the Chief of the Army, Erik With; when Almar entered the office with a plate of eggs and bread.
“Thanks ‘mar.” Stefan said as the plate was sat down in front of him.
Midnight Sun – A Hearts of Iron III After Action Report
Denmark – 1936 Grand Campaign
15 November 1863: Copenhagen, Denmark, Amalienborg Palace
Frederick Charles Christian; otherwise known as King Frederick VII of Denmark, lay still upon his bed, his last breath having escaped the lips of his 55 year old body. By his side stand his third wife, Queen Else Marie, his son Frederik Carl, and his adopted son Carl Christian; whose parents, Carl Berling and Louise Rasmussen had been killed in a carriage accident in 1842. As they mourned the passing of the King, the cogs of politics were all ready being put into motion; just as they had countless times going back as far as the Cnut the Great in the 11th century; the passing of the crown from father to son.
The people of Denmark are required to pay an annual media licensing fee of 2,200 kroner ($372.47) for permission to own a tv, radio, or computer. Apparently people are skipping out on this fee so Culture Minister Carina Christensen has proposed a new law that would allow inspectors to?
look in people?s windows and listen at their doors to find out if they have a television or radio operating
When ever you think that the government of the US is getting out of hand, there is an example somewhere in the world that shows it could be worse.
In other news: The people of Denmark have to pay an annual fee to own a tv?!?!?!