Why I Can’t Celebrate DADT’s Repeal

Today marks the end of the more than decade old “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, where more than 13,000 United States service men and women were dishonorably discharged for simply being gay.

The repeal to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is something I am pretty damn excited for because I have worked so hard to repeal this. A few years ago, as co-Director of the Human Rights Campaign at ASU, we put up over 4,000 flags, each one representing three soldiers who was dishonorably discharged under this awful policy. We then spent the day getting signatures on postcards, and with the help of HRC we sent those postcards to Congress. It was a fun event, and I was proud of what we did.

Today reminds us of the thousands of Americans who were forced to leave the military, their job, for being gay. People like Eric Alva, the first solider injured in Iraq, who was forced to leave the military without benefits. Today reminds us of those who have re-enlisted, returning to the call of duty.

Certainly today is a day for historic celebration, it must not only serve as a reminder of the GLBT, our, community’s strength at overcoming opposition but illustrates that our hard work does pay off. But for me, it  reminds me of what’s to come. Yes, as a community we have come a long way, but even has the military ends their policy that you can’t be fired for being gay, they might be one of the only employers to truly do this. In fact, it is still legal for companies to fire a person who is or appears to be gay in almost every state in the US. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act still has not been passed by Congress, or been signed by the President, despite the on-going attempts.

While I want to celebrate today because of the work I personally did to get this repealed, and despite my true pride in America and my solid support of our troops, I can’t. There’s still more work to do. 

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