When I joined the Air Force, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) remained in effect, if only for a little while. I was jubilant when I heard that Congress had lifted the policy as I waited in line to receive my rifle one morning. At that exact moment, I recall hearing a Sergeant, who I looked up to, mutter under his breath just loud enough for the rest of us to hear, “fucking faggots,” as he stormed past the clearing barrel. In this moment I fully understood that although DADT was gone, there was much work to be done. And as a brand new Airman, I remained silent. I even felt the need to express my own dissatisfaction with the repeal of the law to avoid hostile retribution.
Last week, an editorial ran in USA Today with a photo of my wife Penny and me getting married at the West Point Cadet Chapel (and has been removed after publication). The editorial was the latest in a set of arguments from the anti-marriage-equality side suggesting that they hold no malice in their hearts towards gay people; it’s not about hate at all, it’s about… well, the arguments keep shifting. There seems to be a growing recognition that just citing the Bible doesn’t work anymore since we remembered that we don’t make our laws based on what some people believe about the Bible. And there is solid Biblical scholarship out there that the Bible doesn’t actually condemn loving adult gay relationships.
By Eddy Sweeney, Chief Columnist
Sept. 20, 2011, may have been the day that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) officially ended in the United States, but the moment of truth for me came a few months later, during Christmas. It was our group’s holiday party, and I was bringing my boyfriend to the festivities. Throughout my time serving under DADT,
“’I don’t want to be treated any differently then my straight peers; I just want to live my life,’ was a sentiment expressed often from active-duty troops when I asked why they chose to remain closeted after DADT repeal … Though I deeply respect them wanting privacy, I have come to believe that such silence can no longer be tolerated in 2012.”
Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) Makes Strides Against Sexual Assault
By Liza Swart
The Service Women’s Action Network held Truth and Justice: The 2012 Summit on Military Sexual Violence, May 8, in Washington, D.C.
SWAN sees itself as a civil rights organization, and continues to research and advocate on LGBT-specific issues, with a focus on issues of sexual violence. Their vision is to make the military a safe workplace and to see the end of sexual violence in the military, resulting in a more connected and equal environment for LGBT members.
“This was the first mass globalization for sexual assault survivors on Capitol Hill,” said Katy Otto, SWAN spokesperson. “This is significant because there have been a lot of stories in the press, especially about sexual assault in the military, but those stories have not included LGBT survivors. The summit provided opportunities to get those voices out to the media.”
As always, the OutServe membership continues to impress me with their strength and courage. I am extremely proud of every troop who submitted their picture and bio to be published in this issue of OutServe Magazine. Coming out is never an easy process, and doing so in such a public manner makes you a prime example for other troops who are currently struggling with their own sexuality.