Friday, July 31, 2009

What can I do?

What can you do?

Not in the military - Maybe not even gay - Why should you care? Well when one person's rights are trampled on then ALL of our rights are trampled on! You can make a difference and it starts just by speaking up and saying ENOUGH! THIS HATE MUST STOP!

There are tons of other things you can do though. Read this blog daily and tell your friends about it too. Click on the links here and read the information there as well and follow the suggestions.

You CAN help make a difference! Get involved!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last Thursday I printed a list of famous gays in the US military (which we reprint here below, after which I have a question for all of you dear readers).

7 Famous Gay Men Who Served in the US Navy -
Craig Claiborne (b. 1920), NY Times food critic
Rick Donovan (b.1963), porn star
Allan Gurganus (b. 1947), writer
Rock Hudson (1925-1985), actor
Armistead Maupin (b. 1944), writer
Harvey Milk (1930-1978), politician and Gay rights activist
Frank O'Hara (1926-1966), poet

2 Famous Gay Men Who Served in the US Air Force -
Leonard Matlovich (1943-1988), gay rights activist
Larry Townsend (b. 1935), writer

17 Famous Gay or Bisexual Men Who Served in the US Army -
Samuel Barber (1910-1981), composer
James Beard (1903-1985), food connoisseur and writer
William S. Burroughs (b. 1913), writer
John Cheever (1912-1982), writer
George Cukor (1899-1983), film director
Malcolm Forbes, Sr., (1919-1990), businessman and magazine publisher
Andrew Holleran (b. 1946), writer
James Ivory (b. 1928), film director
Larry Kramer (b. 1935), writer
Rod McKuen (b. 1933), poet
James Merrill (1926-1995), poet
Merle Miller (1919-1986), writer
Peter Orlovsky (b. 1933), poet
Rev. Troy Perry (b. 1940), founder Metropolitan Community Church
John Rechy (b. 1934), writer
Gore Vidal (b. 1925), writer
Dr. Tom Waddell (1937-1987), decathlon athlete and gay rights activist

3 Famous Gay or Bisexual Men Who Served in the US Marine Corps -
Dave Connors (1945-1985), porn star
Tyrone Power (1913-1958), actor
Oliver Sipple (1942-1989), thwarted the 1975 assassination attempt by Sara Jane Moore on President Ford

These are people whose names you may have heard. Can we add additional names though? Of course we can! Think of all the men and women who have served in silence and in secret. Add their names.

End DADT so that they no longer must serve in secret and in silence!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Support gays in the military!

There haven't been a lot of comments written here in a while. Please know that I do welcome your thoughts! Tell your friends about what we write here too so that everyone will know that 1)DADT is a bad policy and 2)DADT MUST be ended. Support gays in the military. It's the only fair thing to do!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

LGBT Military folks

I wonder just how many lgbt servicemembers there have been in the USA. We know of the ones who came out. We know of the ones who were kicked out. What about the others though? Even before DADT, there were gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender servicemembers and I would suspect that they would go all the way back to our earliest army and navy. How many would you guess served? Remember now that they had to do it is silence - just like today. They had to hide and to lie.

Take a second and think about all the men and women who have served our country honorably but who we kicked out because of their sexual orientation. Focus on the ones we know of, if it helps. Isn't it sad that this has happened in our country? Isn't it sad that it continues?

Folks, DADT is a prejudiced policy. DADT MUST be ended!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Do it for Dan!

Do you know who this is?

This is another reason to end DADT!

Do it for Dan!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Right thing to do

President Harry S. Truman 1) recognized Israel immediately; 2) racially integrated the US armed forces; 3) fired General MacArthur to prevent WWIII and to preserve the constitutional principle that the President is Commander-in-Chief; 4) conceived of Medicare (later enacted by LBJ); 5) created NATO. He did these because they were the RIGHT thing to do, not because of polls or advice.

President Obamado - get rid of Don't Ask/Don't Tell! It's the RIGHT thing to do!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What's next?

Later today I will be at the funeral of a friend. He was a gay man who served in our US military. This week I posted a list of famous gays in the military. He wasn't famous, but he served as so many others have. Can gay men and women continue to serve? What is the next chapter in this struggle?

Lawrence J. Korb, Sean Duggan, and Laura Conley have laid out a five-step solution to repealing Don't Ask/Don't Tell that starts with the Obama administration setting the agenda - Sign an Executive Order banning further military separations based on DADT and send a legislative proposal on DADT repeal to Congress; Form a presidential panel on how to implement the repeal; Repeal DADT in Congress and change the Uniformed Code of Military Justice; Change other necessary military guidelines to conform to the new policy; and finally follow-up to ensure that the armed forces implement the policy changes.

The report also says that "careful examination of the laws outlining the president's powers as commander in chief show that the executive branch has the authority to suspend homosexual conduct discharges without legislative action." This provision, commonly known as a "stop loss" order, grants the president authority to suspend the release of military members during any period of national emergency in which members of a reserve unit are serving on active duty. But because Congress originally passed the ban, an executive suspension will have to be followed up with legislative action that reverses DADT.

Each day we continue to write about it here, but is that enough? Have our words served to inform anyone or to change anyone's mind? Have we brought you to conversation or caused you to send any emails or write any letters? We will continue to write here of course, but we would love your suggestions as well. What else can we do? What can others do? How can we more quickly see justice for all? How can we more quickly see an end to DADT?

What to YOU think?

Friday, July 24, 2009

About Don't Ask/Don't Tell

Are you reading this for the first time? Any idea what we do here? Let me tell you.

Don't ask, don't tell is the common term for the policy about homosexuality in the U.S. military mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation.

For the past few months this blog has been looking at DADT and the reasons why it should be repealed. We have urged action on the part of you our readers. We have mentioned numerous other resources. We have commented on specific cases of gays in the military. We hope you will continue reading here and tell your friends. Tell us too, especially if you have comments or suggestions, or even corrections.

Speaking of corrections, as I was talking about media, I neglected to mention much about the motion picture I mentioned, and someone asked me about one of them, so here is a bit more information: "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" is the true story of a decorated officer's legal challenge to her involuntary discharge when she admitted she was a lesbian. Lead actress Glen Close and supporting actress Judy Davis both won Emmy Awards for their performances in the made for TV movie and Allison Cross won an Emmy for outstanding individual achievement in writing for a miniseries or a special. I saw it at the time and have seen it since, and find it outstanding. Check it out!

Check us out every day too and help put an end to injustice. End DADT!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Famous Gays In the Military

The list below comes from The New Gay Book of Lists, by Leigh W. Ruttledge. The book is published by Alyson Publications.

7 Famous Gay Men Who Served in the US Navy -
Craig Claiborne (b. 1920), NY Times food critic
Rick Donovan (b.1963), porn star
Allan Gurganus (b. 1947), writer
Rock Hudson (1925-1985), actor
Armistead Maupin (b. 1944), writer
Harvey Milk (1930-1978), politician and Gay rights activist
Frank O'Hara (1926-1966), poet

2 Famous Gay Men Who Served in the US Air Force -
Leonard Matlovich (1943-1988), gay rights activist
Larry Townsend (b. 1935), writer

17 Famous Gay or Bisexual Men Who Served in the US Army -
Samuel Barber (1910-1981), composer
James Beard (1903-1985), food connoisseur and writer
William S. Burroughs (b. 1913), writer
John Cheever (1912-1982), writer
George Cukor (1899-1983), film director
Malcolm Forbes, Sr., (1919-1990), businessman and magazine publisher
Andrew Holleran (b. 1946), writer
James Ivory (b. 1928), film director
Larry Kramer (b. 1935), writer
Rod McKuen (b. 1933), poet
James Merrill (1926-1995), poet
Merle Miller (1919-1986), writer
Peter Orlovsky (b. 1933), poet
Rev. Troy Perry (b. 1940), founder Metropolitan Community Church
John Rechy (b. 1934), writer
Gore Vidal (b. 1925), writer
Dr. Tom Waddell (1937-1987), decathlon athlete and gay rights activist

3 Famous Gay or Bisexual Men Who Served in the US Marine Corps -
Dave Connors (1945-1985), porn star
Tyrone Power (1913-1958), actor
Oliver Sipple (1942-1989), thwarted the 1975 assassination attempt by SJMoore on Pres.Ford

That is their list. I'm sure there could be more, but of course there has always been secrecy, se we may possibly never have a complete list. Another reason of course to end DADT! We can probably already add our friend Daniel Choi to this list for he has become a famous gay rights activist and is working not only to end DADT but also to end DOM.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Back to the bookshelf

A few days ago I mentioned the book Conduct Unbecoming Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military (1993) by the late Randy Shilts. There are tons of other books that you might want to pick up to get more background on this subject of lgbt persons in the military. May I also suggest Out in Force: Sexual Orientation and the Military by Gregory Herek, The Many Faces of Gay: Activists Who Are Changing the Nation by Arthur D. Kahn, Exclusion: Homosexuals and the Right to Serve by Melissa Wells-Petry, and Don’t Ask: A Reader’s Guide to the Military’s Anti-Gay Policy, by Janet Halley. Also, Lifting the Ban on Gays in the Civil Service: Federal Policy toward Gay and Lesbian Employees since the Cold War, in Public Administration Review by Gregory B. Lewis, Gays and Guns: The Case against Homosexuals in the Military by John Eidsmoe , and The Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men: The Basic ACLU Guide to a Gay Person's Rights by Nan D. Hunter, Sherryl E. Michaelson, Thomas B. Stoddard.

Of course reading is not the only way to get information, but it is a start. After doing some reading, I hope you will also do some sharing. Talk to your relatives and to your coworkers, and to your friends. Let them know that you think it is high time lgbt were treated fairly in the workplace. DADT must be repealed! It is the only fair thing to do!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

DADT Discriminates

An estimated 65,000 LGBT Americans serve in the US armed forces. Of course they have to stay silent - they have to lie - they have to hide. Don't Ask/Don't Tell discriminates. It says that some people will be excluded from service, not because of anything they do, but simply because of who they are. We no longer think it is right and proper to exclude women or people of different races, so why this group of people? Why do people think it is right to exclude gays and lesbians? Discrimination is always wrong.

Discrimination toward or against a person of a certain group is the treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. Discrimination is always a behavior that promotes a certain group at the expense of another. Discrimination is never a good thing. Wherever we see it, discrimination must be ended!

My friends, do not remain silent. Do not lie or hide. Be open. Be proud! God created us just as wonderfully as he did our non-lgbt sisters and brothers. We all should be able to rejoice in who we are and to use the gifts God has given us for the benefit of others.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Don't Hide

Yesterday I was a participant in AIDS Walk SF once again, and instead of wearing one of the AIDS Walk shirts, I wore a Don't Hide shirt. Someone said, "Oh that's for the repeal of Prop 8." Well it got us talking. The shirt was made actually to support Lt. Dan Choi (and yes, it is he who is wearing it in the picture here, not me) and it is about ending Don't Ask/Don't Tell. As I got to thinking about it though I realized it can be so much more. Thanks to Dan's wonderful sister Grace for making these shirts and also making some people yesterday think and talk.

DADT says gays can serve IF they lie and IF they hide. We say NO! We should be able to be who we are! We should not have to be dishonest. (Do we really want to teach people to lie anyway)? We should not have to hide!

One more reason to end DADT - it's the honest thing to do!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In the media

One of the first people I met when I moved to San Francisco was Randy Shilts who is perhaps best known for his book And the Band Played On. Randy also wrote Conduct Unbecoming Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military (1993). His book though is not the only reference to gays in the military. Here is a list of some of the films that you might want to check out: Across the Universe (2007), Any Mother’s Son (1996), Ask Not (2008), Courage Doesn't Ask (2007), Coming Out Under Fire (1994), Five Lines (2000), Gays in the Military (2000), Serving in Silence (1995), In & Out (1997), Licensed to Kill (1997), Regarding Billy (2005), and Time Regained (2000). There is also a pretty old documentary that I tried to find yesterday (but was not successful). I saw it years ago and then again last year as part of a film festival. A great job of showing how gays and lesbians have always served, but how we had to serve in silence - how we had to hide and lie.

Of course there is a lot more media coverage these days of DADT. This blog is just one example. Check out the links too to the Knights Out site for a lot more news and check your own local newspaper on a regular basis. Finally the spotlight is being shown on the injustice that still exists, but that will hopefully soon end.

Any articles, books, films, television programs, or other media that you think we should take a look at? Leave a comment! By communicating we can end DADT!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

By the numbers

I was tempted to bring you some graphs and pie charts, but settled instead to just mention some numbers. First of all, the public now gives two-to-one support for allowing gays in the military - a margin of 60 percent to 32 percent. This represents significantly broader support for this inclusive policy than in 1994, when 52 percent favored allowing gays to serve openly and 45 percent were opposed.

I can break that down a bit. Support has grown in most segments of society, particularly among young people (those under age 30) who are in favor of an open policy by three-to-one (72 percent to 23 percent). But the balance of opinion has shifted in favor of allowing open service across all age groups. We are learning. We are becoming more fair.

Do you know where the biggest growth has come from? The South! In 1994 the South was the only region in which a majority of residents (55 percent) opposed allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Today, just 35 percent in the South take this position, while 58 percent support open service. Big difference, huh?

Politically there are differences. Republicans are divided with 46 percent favoring allowing gays to serve openly and 46 percent are opposed. A majority of conservative Republicans oppose such a policy, while moderate and liberal Republicans favor it by a wide margin (62 percent-29 percent). Democrats of all ideological groups tend to favor allowing gays in the military, though liberal Democrats are nearly universal in their support (85 percent-9 percent). Independents also favor the policy by a 66 percent-to-30 percent margin.

So the bottom line here is that a majority of Americans favor an end to Don't Ask/Don't Tell. So, why don't we do it? Why don't we end it now and bring fairness to all?

Okay and speaking of numbers, 77 Members of Congress have joined with Knights Out in Calling on President Obama to Sign an Executive Order Suspending DADT. See if your congressperson's name is on this list. If it is, call them and thank them. If it isn't, call them and ask why not? The signers are:

Alcee L. Hastings
Barney Frank
John Conyers, Jr.
Fortney “Pete” Stark
Edward J. Markey
Gary Ackerman
Louise Slaughter
Eliot Engel
Jim McDermott
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
José Serrano
James Moran
Jerrold Nadler
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Ed Pastor
James Clyburn
Anna Eshoo
Bob Filner
Luis Gutierrez
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Carolyn Maloney
Robert “Bobby” Scott
Bennie Thompson
Nydia Velázquez
Melvin Watt
Lynn Woolsey
Lloyd Doggett
Chaka Fattah
Jane Harman
Lois Capps
Donna M. Christensen
Diana DeGette
Bill Delahunt
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Dennis Kucinich
Barbara Lee
James McGovern
Brad Sherman
Robert Wexler
Tammy Baldwin
Shelley Berkley
Michael Capuano
Joseph Crowley
Rush Holt
John Larson
Grace Napolitano
Jan Schakowsky
Anthony Weiner
David Wu
William Lacy Clay
Mike Honda
James Langevin
Betty McCollum
Diane Watson
Tim Bishop
Raúl Grijalva
Linda Sánchez
Emanuel Cleaver
Doris Matsui
Gwen Moore
Debbie Wasserman Schulz
André Carson
Kathy Castor
Yvette Clarke
Donna F. Edwards
Keith Ellison
Marcia L. Fudge
Phil Hare
Mazie K. Hirono
Laura Richardson
Joe Sestak
Niki Tsongas
Peter Welch
Alan Grayson
Jared Polis
Mike Quigley
Gregorio Sablan

Friday, July 17, 2009

Gays in Israel's military

The nation of Israel has had no restrictions on military service by gays since 1993. Major Yoni Schoenfeld, a gay officer who is the editor of the military magazine, Bamahane, said there was little friction in the ranks related to gay soldiers. Schoenfeld is pictured here listening to his partner. His magazine has reflected the evolving attitudes over the years. In 2001, it was shut down briefly after featuring an interview with a retired colonel who had come out of the closet. Yet this year, there was no negative reaction to the cover picture of two male soldiers embracing. Times change.

Perhaps it is just taking time here in the US. Perhaps an end to DADT is just around the corner and then we can be like our friends in Israel. Perhaps. In that country, gays were permitted to serve even before 1993, but not in certain intelligence positions where, at the time, they were deemed possible security risks vulnerable to blackmail. Now, gays and lesbians serve in all branches of the military, including combat duty. In fact, the Israeli military provided the backdrop for the 2002 movie "Yossi & Jagger" about two Israeli combat soldiers who fall in love on the front lines. It was even screened on military bases where it was deemed a hit.

Mr. Obama: bring us to the same place. Carry through with your promise and let Americans have the same equal treatment!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Showering with other men

One of the things I have heard several times is that gays cannot serve in the military because the nongay members would feel uncomfortable in the showers with them. Huh? Can anyone really be serious about this?

Yesterday I noted here that before Canada lifted its gay ban, a survey of 6,500 male soldiers found that 62% of them said they would refuse to share showers, undress or sleep in the same room as a gay soldier. The interesting thing though is that after the ban was lifted, follow-up studies found no increase in disciplinary, performance, recruitment, sexual misconduct, or resignation problems. It just didn't happen. If it can work for our neighbors to the north, why not here?

How many of you played sports in school? How many of you had physical education classes? Was it not common for you to shower with the other guys? Was there any distinction made between the gay guys and the ones who were not gay? How about at public gyms or health clubs - is there a shower room for gay members that is separate for the nongay members? I think not. My point here is that people think there will be a lot of uncomfortable folks. That is not necessarily the case. And even if it is, let's get over it! Let's grow up people!

There is no good reason for excluding gays from the military - no, not one! The whole showing with other men idea is simply ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gays in the military around the world

First of all before writing anything else, let me tell you that this blog will continue to advocate for an end to DADT - the only change is we are ending the count of days, since it really served no purpose. We were counting the number of days of our participation, not any kind of official number regarding the military or the ridiculous DADT policy.

Most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members. Of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, more than 20 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve and of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, two (United Kingdom and France) do so. China bans gays and lesbians outright and Russia excludes all gays and lesbians during peacetime but allows some gay men to serve in wartime.

In Canada, the decision was made way back in 1992 to allow homosexuals to serve openly in its armed forces, and studies show that indeed, military performance has not declined. The percent of military women who experienced sexual harassment dropped 46% after the ban was lifted. While there were several reasons why harassment declined, one factor was that after the ban was lifted women were free to report assaults without fear that they would be accused of being a lesbian. Before Canada lifted its gay ban, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male soldiers found that 62% said that they would refuse to share showers, undress or sleep in the same room as a gay soldier. After the ban was lifted, follow-up studies found no increase in disciplinary, performance, recruitment, sexual misconduct, or resignation problems.

Here in the United States we are technically permitted to serve, but only in secrecy and celibacy. We have to lie and hide! I say “be honest about who you are! Don’t hide.” (I seem to have seen that message on a shirt somewhere).

What is the reason for this Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy? Well it was originally designed to help us, believe it or not! It was a blunder from day one though and has caused nothing but problems! The time has come (long ago) for DADT to be repealed!

Recently I met (via the internet) some gay men who serve in other countries. The have been reading this and urge me to continue writing. I will!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

DAY 57: DADT Update

Over the weekend hs was on CNN and Anderson Cooper asked why his administration had not moved on that promise that it would overturn the DADT policy begun back during the Clinton years.

OMABA: "I've had conversations with Bob Gates as well as Admiral Mullen about the fact that I want to see this law change. I also want to make sure that we are not simply ignoring a congressional law. If Congress passes a law that is constitutionally valid, then it's not appropriate for the Executive Branch simply to say we will not enforce a law. It is our duty to enforce laws. But look, the bottom line is, I want to see this changed, and we've already contacted congressional allies. I want to make sure that it's changed in a way that ultimately works well for our military and for the outstanding gay and lesbian soldiers that are both currently enlisted or would like to enlist."

COOPER: "Do you personally have a timetable in your mind of when you would like to see [the law] changed?"

OBAMA: "I'd like to see it done sooner rather than later, and we've got a process to not only work it through Congress, but also to make sure that the Pentagon has thought through all the ramifications of how this would be most effective."

Notice that Obama is saying change, not repeal. Obama also seems to now be saying he thinks the military's discrimination and bigoted DADT policy is constitutional. (Remember that in the anti-gay DOMA brief he also said that DOMA is constitutional).

I am NOT a legal expert, but I strongly believe (and experts have also said this) that the president has the authority to suspend "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" with the stroke of a pen. Obama could simply issue an Executive Order. Congress could of course end it too. So far though: NOTHING! The president, back when he was campaigning, indicated he would end it. He hasn't. He has been in office for six months!

My suggestion: keep spreading the word. Talk to the common folks you come in contact with and also write letter to friends and family. Tell them you think DADT is unfair and unjust. (How about just plain wrong?)

Monday, July 13, 2009

DAY 56: DADT Update

Lieutenant Dan Choi, as you all know, is fighting the military's 'Don't Ask/Don't Tell' policy. Choi said he was gay earlier this year, and that the only thing that could have saved him from having to leave service would be to lie.

In the United States, more than 12,000 service members have been dismissed since 1994 because it became known they were gay. Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach is another one of them.

Many countries, including 28 NATO allies, have revoked 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policies, and Choi believes that anyone who thinks fellow soldiers would be uncomfortable or unable to deal with gays in the military are actually insulting those who serve.

Back in 1992, Anita Van Der Meer was threatened with discharge from the Australian Navy for being a lesbian. She denied the charge to save her job and later that year the military's ban on gays and lesbians in that country was lifted. This year, Van Der Meer marched proudly with more than 100 other service members in Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade under an Australian Defense Force banner with even a general marching with them!

This year here in San Francisco, I was very privileged to walk in our LGBT Pride Parade with Lt. Choi and members of Knights Out, an organization of OUT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender West Point Alumni and their supporters. Next year how about an official US Army contingent walking in the parade when DADT is a thing of the past? It CAN happen! It should happen!

Gays have always served in this country's military, often with distinction. We serve openly in many other nations of the world, why not here? Polls say the DADT policy should be ended. The latest Gallup poll shows that even a majority of Republicans (58 percent) and weekly churchgoers (60 percent) agree. This is an issue of basic civil rights. Help spread the word!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

DAY 55: DADT Update

"In telling young service members that there is this legislation of 'Don't Ask/Don't Tell' you are legitimately encouraging the idea that there is something wrong with homosexuality." -Joseph Christopher Rocha

My sisters and brothers - the time has come! Let us put an end to hate! Let's get rid of DADT!

The San Jose Mercury News agrees with us. Last Monday in an editorial they wrote "There's no humane way to enforce an inhumane law." Indeed! The paper went on to say "President Harry Truman ended segregation in the military after World War II, and the armed forces proudly paved the way for civil rights advances throughout the nation. It's Obama's turn to stand up for what's right."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

DAY 54: DADT Update

Don't Ask/Don't Tell has got to be ended! There is no good reason for keeping this policy!

I want to update you on Lt. Dan Choi, just in case you don't read this every day, or if you are the one person in this country who doesn't even know who he is. He came out back in March on national television and since then has spoken publically at various lgbt events, including serving as Grand Marshall at the San Francisco Pride Celebration. Two days after that, in Syracuse, NY Choi when before a hearing to show why he should be kept in the military. They apparently were not listening though because very quickly afterward they recommended that Lt. Daniel Choi be discharged from the New York Army National Guard for publicly stating that he is gay - not for doing anything wrong mind you, simply for speaking the truth! Choi is a graduate of West Point, an Arabic linguist, and an Iraqi vet. He is a born leader - I witnessed that first-hand. Anyway, the recommendation must now wind its way through the military chain of command, which must decide whether or not to accept that recommendation. The Commander-In-Chief (that would be President Obama) could get involved and back up his earlier words with some real real action. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, there is always an opportunity for you to get involved. I say this just about every day, but it is still true. Let people know how you feel. Write letters. Send emails. Make telephone calls. If you are able to, donate money. DADT is just one of many forms of discrimination against lgbt people. NO DISCRIMATION SHOULD BE ALLOWED! We should be free to love whom we choose, and that is really at the heart of what this is all about - LOVE. Love is a good thing folks. Let us embrace it and put an end to Don't Ask/Don't Tell!

Friday, July 10, 2009

DAY 53: DADT Update

Every day we write things here about DADT. Yesterday I invited a ton of folks to look in on these daily posts here and also to add their comments so we will have an idea of what people are thinking. Tell your family and friends too!

Testerday here I mentioned the Servicemembers legal defense Network. I also want to mention that Lt. Dan Choi could use some financial help in his fight too. One great way to help is to get a Don't Hide shirt. Go to to see the shirt and to order one!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

DAY 52: DADT Update

What two men or two women do in their private time should have no bearing on their job - REGARDLESS of what that job is! If you work in a drugstore or in a factory or in a hospital, can your employer tell you how to love?

NO. Of course not! Why can they then in the military?

DADT is bad and needs to be ended!

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is working to see and end to DADT (among other things). You can help them by making a secure online donation HERE

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

DAY 51: DADT Update

Congressman Patrick Murphy, an Iraq War veteran who earned a Bronze Star, has become the lead sponsor of a bill that would finally lift the ban on openly gay personnel serving in the military and put an end to DADT. "It is vital to our national security," he said to The Morning Call newspaper. "We have troops that are fighting in two wars and we need every qualified able-bodied individual who is able to serve."

Congresswoman Ellen Taucher, who is leaving Congress to take a position with the Obama administration, was the leading sponsor of the bill when it was reintroduced to Congress earlier this year. It currently has 150 cosponsors in the House. The President has said he does not want to repeal the ban by Executive Order (although he didn't exactly say that during the campaign), but he does say he wants it ended, so we can assume he will sign this bill.

Let your congressperson know how YOU feel! Write letters my friends! I keep saying this, but it really does make a difference!

A recent Gallup poll shows that more than two thirds of Americans - 69% in fact, favor lifting the ban; 26% remain opposed. Bisexual reality TV star Tila Tequila recently wrote in her blog that DADT should be ended. A 29-year-old gay sailor was found dead at California's Camp Pendleton last week - nothing has indicated whether or not DADT played any role in his death. Lt. Dan Choi continues his quest to keep his job after coming out on national tv. Virtually everyone who meets Dan or hears him speak, is supportive.

There is overwhelming reason to end DADT. What are we waiting for?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

DAY 50: DADT Update

If this is your first time reading this, DADT stands for Don't Ask/Don't Tell, the ridiculous policy of our US military that excludes gays and lesbians. This policy needs to be repealed and that is what we write about here each day. We have written in particular here about Lt. Daniel Choi. Your support for him has been amazing - 162,741 people signed Lt. Choi's letter to the Army and then 141,262 people signed Lt. Choi's letter to President Obama. Combined, more than 300,000 signatures were collected on his behalf and were submitted as "Exhibit E: Courage Campaign" to the Army. I think that is pretty great! Lt. Choi needs some more help though and so I hope you will sign once again, if you have not already - this time to the Speaker of the House. Click HERE to do that.

We need to keep up with this, and not just for Dan. We need to let our President and our Congress know how we feel. Even if you have already signed petitions, have you written any letters? Have you spoken to your senators and congressperson? Have you talked to friends and realtives and asked them to write? The more we communicate, there better the chance is!

"Nothing is more infuriating than Obama's refusal to act on Don't Ask/Don't Tell . . . discrimination in our armed forces carries a potent symbolism: It tells an entire class of people that the country is not interested in their service." -The New Republic in an editorial this week.

Keep it up my friends!

Monday, July 06, 2009

DAY 49: DADT Update

General Colin Powell, who helped craft Don't Ask/Don't Tell in 1993 after thwarting President Bill Clinton in his efforts to open the military to out gay soldiers, said yesterday on CNN's State of the Union, that the policy should be reviewed, but would not say that is should be repealed.

"The policy and the law that came about in 1993 I think was correct for the time. Sixteen years have now gone by, and I think a lot has changed with respect to attitudes within our country. And therefore, I think this is a policy and a law that should be reviewed," said Powell.

He also seemed to dispute the notion (as interpreted from President Obama's recent remarks) that the policy exists only because of a generation gap. The retired general and former Secretary of State said "It is not just a matter of old generals who, you know, are just too high-bound. There are lots of complicated issues with respect to this, and I think all of those issues should be illuminated. And I hope that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanders working with the Secretary of Defense will give this the greatest consideration and make their recommendation to the president and to the Congress."

Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was also on that program and he said "It's very clear what President Obama's intent here is. He intends to see this law change." "I've had conversations with him about that. What I've discussed in terms of the future is I think we need to move in a measured way."

Adm. Mullen appeared to be distancing himself from President Obama and the possible repeal of the policy. He used the word change rather than repeal too. It just felt bad. I really cannot describe it. I did not get a very positive feeling from the program.

I never thought it would be easy. I give thanks for the great courage of the many who keep coming out and being honest. Don't Hide! Never give up!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

DAY 48: DADT Update

Last Tuesday, a military board told Lt. Dan Choi (whom we have mentioned here often) that it was recommending his discharge from the Army for "moral and professional dereliction" under the military's "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy. This folks should be reason enough to end DADT! The news from the hearing was not good, but despite this setback, Lt. Choi is not giving up. Bolstered by more than 300,000 signatures to letters of support calling for the repeal of DADT, he is now taking his fight to repeal the discriminatory "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy to Congress and he needs our help - ALL of us! The sooner DADT is repealed, the sooner he can return to service. Also, the sooner our lgbt sisters and brothers can stop hiding!

I signed a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Lt. Choi is going to personally deliver to her. The letter is being launched on Lt. Choi's behalf by the Courage Campaign, Knights Out and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. We need Speaker Pelosi to take leadership now and speak out publicly in favor of current legislation in Congress that would repeal the "Don't Ask/ Don't Tell" policy. I am not the only one to have signed Lt. Choi's letter - thousands of others have! Will you join me in signing it too, and urge your friends to do the same? Just click HERE to add your name.

Keep reading our updates here every day too and tell your friends! We should not have to hide any more!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

DAY 47: DADT Update

Today is Independence Day. How many lgbt Americans are really independent? How many of us are truly free? There have been lgbt soldiers throughout our country's history, but in order to service in the military, they have always had to hide.

We have to stand up for what we believe in like MTV’s Tila Tequila did when she told President Barack Obama that he needs to repeal “Don’t ask/Don’t tell.” In a blog that Tequila wrote yesterday , she calls Lt. Dan Choi, “a hero to many of us in the human rights movement,” who was kicked out of the Army after publically announcing that he was homosexual. “Being an openly bisexual woman myself and having a lot of close gay friends, I have always HATED that policy,” Tila tells.

Right on Tila! We need more folks like this to speak the truth! On this Fourth of July let us all say ENOUGH! If we truly believe that all are created equal, we need to show it! Don't Ask/Don't Tell MUST end! Discrimination against lgbt people MUST end! Everyone must be treated equally!

Let freedom ring!

Friday, July 03, 2009

DAY 46: DADT Update

President Obama's deputy campaign manager, Steve Hildebrand, who is himself openly gay, penned a piece for the Huffington Post this week that delineates the three "gay" priorities that Congress should focus on: safe schools; hate crimes; and ENDA. There is no mention of DADT. None at all! (There is also no mention of DOMA either which he also campaigned on).

The fight is not over. There is so much to do. We are talking about justice and doing what is right - for ALL people! It may seem like it has been a long fight, and it has been, but NEVER GIVE UP! Don't lie. Don't Hide. We all have to be who we are!

Love is a good thing!

As you read this each day, you are more than welcome to add your comments! Let me (and our readers) know what you think! If you have specific DADT news, you can also email me privately and ask that I post it. It is also interesting to know how many people read this, so do feel free to subscribe and we will see a number.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

DAY 45: DADT Update

I've been talking a lot about Dan Choi here and will continue to keep you updated, but I wanted to let you know about other areas of DADT as well. Later today, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), a veteran of the Iraq war, the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United, will announce the launch of a national tour urging the repeal of "Don't Ask/Don't Tell." He will be joined by gay, lesbian and straight veterans, including Eric Alva, the first wounded veteran in the Iraq War; Jarrod Chlapowski, a former U.S. Army Korean linguist who opted to not re-enlist because of DADT and is currently a public policy advocate at the Human Rights Campaign; and Alex Nicholson, a U.S. Army veteran fluent in Arabic discharged under DADT and current executive director of Servicemembers United. More details on that later in the week.

Do you realize that "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" is the only law in the country that forces people to be dishonest about their personal lives or be fired or possibly imprisoned? How can someone be taught to be open and honest and then told they have to lie and hide? Lt. Choi has it right when he says: "Don't lie. Don't Hide. Never Give Up!"

My friends, there is still much to do. Get those letters written. Make those telephone calls. Let people know how you feel. Let the know that DADT is a BAD policy!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

DAY 44: DADT Update

As most of you know, Lt. Choi appeared yesterday morning in Syracuse, NY before the Federal Recognition Board, and they later in the day issued their recommendation that he be fired (discharged) from the Army for "moral and professional dereliction" under the stupid "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy. I was stunned when I heard the news . . . and then I cried. Dan is much stronger and I though folks and the board's decision to fire him is not the end. He will keep on fighting.

This is just one chapter too. Even if Dan had prevailed yesterday, we still need to see an end to DADT! I will always be on Dan Choi's side, but regardless of what happens in in his case, it is important to remember - this is NOT about Dan Choi - it is about ending a bad practice. It is about ending DADT. It is about doing the right thing.

The picture above, by the way, is me and Lt. Choi clowning a bit after the Mayor's press conference at SF Pride this past Sunday.

Don't lie! Don't hide! Never Give up!