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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Discussions Were Worse Than You Think

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellNewly released documents show just how homophobic the discussions about the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy were behind closed doors.

Queerty reports:

“Homo[sexuality] is a problem for us,” Powell said, according to the notes taken at the meeting. He also recited all the same bogus fears that led to DADT, including the old predator canard; the notes say Powell was “concerned about forced association and immaturity of 18-year-old.”

The most offensive remarks came from Marine Commandant Carl Mundy, who 16 years later was still urging the president (now Obama) not to repeal DADT. According to the notes, Mundy said that the statement “I’m gay” was the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist.” Coming out “fractures teamwork” and tells the world “I commit [an] act Amer[ica] doesn’t accept.” Mundy wasn’t moved by the experience of other nations either. “It doesn’t matter what the Dutch have done,” he said. “We’re the best.”

Clinton was prone to stereotypes as well. “People I would like to keep [in the military] wouldn’t show up at a Queer Nation parade,” the president said, referring to the activist group.

How much things have changed in the last twenty years. And how much they are still the same.

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Gay Soldiers Living Openly in Wake of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Don't Ask Don't TellWhile the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the overturning of part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act opened doors more widely to gay people serving openly in the military, it didn’t mark radical changes to the way the fighting force looked or behaved. Instead, it brought the possibility of marriage and spousal benefits to soldiers that were previously denied. And, an opportunity to live more freely.

“When you come out and you’ve been out so long, it’s hard to just go back in,” said Spc. Corderra Dews, 24, who was living in Austin, Texas, and openly gay before he joined the Army in 2011.

While there are no solid statistics on the number of gay and lesbian soldiers currently in the military, a group of soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, spoke with The Leaf-Chronicle about life in the military before and after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell’ and the Army’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex spouses, furthering the full inclusion of gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.

See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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MEUSA Thanks the More than One Million LGBT Service Members and Veterans For Their Service

Monday, November 11th, 2013

This Veterans Day, take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service. Also, take a moment to think of the men and women who are abroad putting their lives at risk so we can rest easy at home. Now, take it further and think about the partners/husbands/wives of those LGBT Servicemembers out there who wait for their loved ones to return. Or the LGBT veteran who walks for the first time into the hospital hand in hand with his or her partner, a silent bundle of nerves waiting to be called out and shot down. Most importantly, thank a veteran. You could be the one person who makes his or her day.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

USA: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Still in Force – for Transgender Troops

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Don't Ask Don't TellYou thought DADT had been repealed? Well it was – but not for transgender troops. reports:

In the military, coming out as transgender still disqualifies you for service, a subject that USA Today tackles in a new article on the issue: “I was at the Pentagon when Secretary Hagel was saying we’re here to celebrate LGBT service,” says a transgender Army sergeant who joined the Army as a woman. The sergeant spoke on condition of anonymity to stay in the service. “I’m kind of looking around for the rest of Ts,” the soldier says, referring to transgender troops. Other troops could celebrate marriage equality, the sergeant says, but not the transsexuals… Because of the current DADT policy, it is unknown how many transgender troops are serving in the military. About 700,000 Americans (0.3% of the total population) are transgender, according to a 2011 study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.

Like their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, many transgender soldiers have served (and continue to serve) the country admirably in the US Military. And like gays and lesbians, they should be allowed to do so openly.

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West Virginia, USA: Senator Joe Manchin Regrets Voting No on DADT Repeal, But Still Supports DOMA

Monday, April 29th, 2013

West Virginia Senator Joe ManchinBlue dog democrat Joe Manchin said Saturday that he regretted voting against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Joe.My.God reports:

In December 2010, Manchin broke with Democrats and cast a vote against a procedural motion to advance “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal legislation. When the Senate voted to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy later that month, Manchin skipped the vote to attend a “holiday gathering.” “That was the wrong vote,” Manchin said at a Saturday breakfast hosted by National Journal and The Atlantic, which also featured MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “Today I would vote the other way.”

Manchin is one of the three remaining Senate Democrats who is not endorse marriage equality, and just recently reiterated his support for DOMA. So he should be regretting that decision in about, what, three more years?

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USA: Eleven Milestones After the Repeal of DADT

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

One of the biggest victories of the gay rights movement was repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which officially banned LGBT members of the military from serving openly.

While there are still issues for personnel with same-sex partners (like housing or health insurance benefits) or transgender troops who still cannot serve openly, there still have been many causes for celebration.

Authored By Michelle Garcia – See the Full Story at The Advocate

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Republicans Unlikely to Try to Reinstate DADT

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Don't Ask Don't TellEven if Mitt Romney wins the White House, it doesn’t look like Republicans will try to reinstate the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee echoed this week what Romney said on the campaign trail — that what to do about DADT has already been settled even if he opposed the outcome.

“We fought that fight,” said Rep. Buck McKeon, according to the Associated Press. McKeon said that while other Republicans might support reinstating the policy, which was repealed by Congress and President Obama in 2010, it’s not something he’d pursue. And McKeon would have a lot of sway over that question as chairman.

Full Story from The Advocate

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Memorial Day Mourning Discrimination of Gay and Lesbian Americans

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

“‘The Constitution our son died for was intended to protect rights, not deny them.” Lori Wilfahrt
By Melanie Nathan

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th centu Memorial Day had been extended to honor ALL Americans who have died in all wars. It is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces, regardless of sexuality.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers help create a sea of red white and blue by placing an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries across the Country.

This memorial day, we at GAY U.S.A. the Movie are working on post production aspects of the film which includes interviews with the the family of fallen U.S. Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt.

Here is a video commemorating Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt, which we would like to share in acknowledgment that war does not discern when it comes to sexuality, and some of those who have given their lives to this Country and the Constitution for which it stands, did so knowing they were the subject of institutionalized discrimination themselves, yet were willing to die for principals that are still caste in hope. American day to day life has fallen far short of equality for all Americans under the law. Until we apply civil laws, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, equally to all Americans, we are a country that discriminates. That must change and it must be soon.

While all Americans have a right to serve openly in the military, without regard to sexual orientation, thanks to the repeal of the ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ law, LGBT servicemembers still suffer rampant discrimination with regard to marriage equality, green card sponsorship of binational partners or spouses and a host of other missing benefits caused by lack of equality under the civil law of the U.S.A.

Jeff  Wilfahrt the father of Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt is running for Minnesota Assembly. Lori Wilfahrt speaks around the U.S.A., honoring her son’s memory. The speech seen in this video was filmed at the first OUTserve Conference in Las Vegas, 2011.

SEE VIDEO AT Video by Kristina Lapinski

by Melanie Nathan
Twitter: @melanienathan1

USA: Three Senators Want to Streamline DADT Clean-Up

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Don't Ask Don't TellIn a letter Tuesday to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, U.S.Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.),and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked the Secretary to use his authority to streamline the process for those discharged under the repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law in order to expedite discharge paperwork changes and upgrades.

The Senators are asking the Department of Defense for a streamlined process for military veterans discharged under DADT with honorable or general discharges and whom are seeking changes to their narrative reason for discharge and their reentry code.

The letter requests that the DOD clarify that the discharge review boards correct discharge paperwork upon receipt of a basic DD Form 293 application, provided that the board can then obtain the veteran’s paperwork, including the DD Form 214 and service record.

Full Story from LGBTQ Nation

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US: Pentagon to Certify DADT Repeal Friday

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

DADT RepealPentagon officials will announce Friday that the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military can be lifted without harming military readiness, a step that will likely bring the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to an end in September, two Defense officials said,

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are recommending to President Obama that he proceed with final repeal of the nearly two-decade-old policy, the officials said.

Congress voted to repeal the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law last year, but delayed abolishing it until top Pentagon officials and the president could certify that the change would not adversely affect the military. The ban will cease to be enforced 60 days after the certification, Congress ordered.

Full Story from the LA Times

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