Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
Depending on who you are and what your position in life is, the way you support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” – the U.S. military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly – could differ greatly.
If you’re an average individual with no military history, you may just talk to friends about the issue or send an e-mail to your local legislator. If you’re retired from service in the Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force, you may choose to speak out from the point of view of someone who has lived through the policy or, worse yet, the time before “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when being a gay service member was strictly forbidden.
You may be one of the Diane Schroers, Dan Chois or Eric Alvas of the world, committing your life to defeating this policy and increasing awareness and acceptance of LGBT service members.
Or, you might be one of the thousands of current military service members, protecting your country’s freedoms while being trapped yourself, unable to tell the world who you really are.
The last option of those is perhaps the most difficult.
Imagine hearing anti-gay slurs from members of your platoon or officers and having always to bite your tongue for fear that support of LGBT equality will certainly mean being outed, or at least suspected. Imagine knowing that this fierce battle is happening in Congress and not being able to lend your voice to it. Imagine devoting your life to defending the country you love, knowing that many in it don’t love you back and even preach hate against you. Imagine living to safeguard freedoms you can’t even enjoy: marriage, free speech, equality, life, love and the persuit of happiness.
These currently serving members of our nation’s military must support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in silence – or at least anonymously. While we encourage them to send e-mails under pseudonyms or make anonymous phone calls to their Congressmen and women, we would further implore the people who love them – or, really, anyone who cares about freedom – to do what these silenced soldiers can’t: speak out.
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is nearing 200 sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Every day, more people are coming on board, voicing their support for repeal, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
But the real voices of support are coming from average Americans – including both LGBT and allied veterans – who are demanding that their friends, loved ones and people they’ll never meet are all able to exhibit both pride in their country and pride in their identity.
The two should not be mutually exclusive. No one should ever have to choose between serving in the military and being who they are.
Be a voice for those who can’t have one, and service members – ask your families and friends to do the same for you. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” wouldn’t just be a victory for those who serve, but for the freedoms of America our military so ardently seeks to protect.