Saturday, April 24, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

If you have not heard about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, you're probably not from the United States of America. Basically, in the simplest form of definition, the policy restricts any military members from revealing their sexuality if they are LGBT, or they could be sacked.

Wikipedia's definition here.

It's become a huge issue after Lt Dan Choi was sacked after he came out of the closet, and refusing to shut up, he took it to the street.


I'm an activism geek so things like this makes me respect the person a hell lot more.

There has been a lot of progress and setback to the issue, and even Obama's involved.

Being in Australia, I usually don't give two hoots about the issue because there isn't too much I could do about it other than to support the effort wherever I can. It wasn't something that I found relevant or too close to me either.

While in Chicago for a global summit, I was surrounded by hundreds of inspiring young people from Peru to Uganda trying to change the world with their own projects. In my small group is a young lady who, although seemed shy, can be outspoken when its issues she's passionate about such as child and sex trafficking and LGBT.

In one of the workshops, our small group was challenged to share some stories, and after a few of them have shared theirs, this lady timidly put up her hand. She told her story. Her story of shame, struggle and misunderstandings. She is a victim of the DADT policy. It wasn't until at that moment that I felt compelled to understand the issue more and actually feel disgusted by it.

To read her story, click here.

I had a very inspiring chat with her over coffee and even met her wife. It's beyond my comprehension how can this happen.

2 comments:

Formysake said...

I once saw Dan Choi speak on DC for marriage equality, and DADT. He was phenomenal. He "owned" the stage and I won't be suprised if he runs for some kind of political office in the future..

James said...

It's actually called a "dishonorable discharge" and it's far worse than being fired. It means you're excluded from any military position ad infinitum. If future employers find out that you were dishonorably discharged, it's pretty much the blackest mark you can have on your record. Your eligibility for employment anywhere drops significantly.

A dishonorable discharge puts someone at the same level as traitors, cowards, and other such unsavory categories of people who fall short by not performing their military duties.

In no way should LGBT members who have always faithfully performed their duties be grouped with people that actually jeopardize our country and military through traitorous and spineless activity. If anything, LGBT personnel are some of the bravest and most loyal military personnel, serving their country loyally despite a hostile leadership. I salute all LGBT military personnel.

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