DADT Is Back on the Table

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DADT Is Back on the Table

Amidst everything else going on in politics, today Rep. Ellen Tauscher of Califorina re-introduces the bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'' While on the campaign trail, Barack Obama said that he would repeal DADT. However, supporters of the bill worry that if its re-introduced today, it won't pass legislators who are already embattled over the economy and the President's new budget.

In case you needed to see some statistics on why discrimination in the military is totally wrong. According to The Center for American Progress:

Since 1994, the military’s “Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy has resulted in the discharge of more than 13,000 military personnel across the service including approximately 800 with skills deemed “mission critical,” such as pilots, combat engineers, and linguists.

In 2005, the Government Accountability Office found that the cost of discharging and replacing service members fired because of their sexual orientation during the policy’s first 10 years totaled at least $190.5 million. This amounts to roughly $20,000 per discharged service member.

Since 1993 when the policy was first instituted, pubic opinion on gays serving in the military has changed dramatically. Today, 75% of American's believe gays should be able to serve openly in the military.

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Tauscher took on the repeal of DADT two years ago and held her first public hearing yesterday. Tauscher believes, "that [DADT] is one of the last civil rights battles we have in this country." Meanwhile, a spokesman for the White House stated to the New York Times last night:

The president supports changing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As part of a longstanding pledge, he has also begun consulting closely with Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and our national security.

If DADT is repealed, this would be the first LGBT rights victory on our way toward complete civil rights. One almost down, many more to go.

Rachel Maddow looks at the goings on in the second half of this clip (around 2:55).



Comments [24]

Fastgurrrl's picture

I posted this on my facebook

I posted this on my facebook yesterday:

C4 Donate Hope Video - Equality California

https://www.kintera.org/site/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp?c=kuLRJ9MRKrH&b=501370...

Last week a young woman in the armed forces came by our shop with one of her military buddies. I noticed a sticker on her Kawasaki and thought, "That looks familiar,hmmm." It was the HRC equal rights sticker which is a blue square with two yellow rectangles floating in the middle - http://www.hrc.org -. I asked her, "What does that sticker mean?" She looked right at me and said, "Equality." I gave her a knowing look and then we hugged and I told her, "Right on, you are a brave girl." She replied, "It's only right." When I think about people like her, who the-powers-that-be are constantly referring to/using in their political theater, and all these people with "support the troops" stickers on their cars that are typically church going republicans, and she has to hide who she is/how or who she loves, PARTICULARLY while she is serving her country, huh? Why?

DEEPLY INSULTING AND OFFENSIVE WHERE IS THE LOVE

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

Couple of words of

Couple of words of advice:

Don't believe anything the recruiter tells you.

Talk to people currently serving (try for those doing something you want to do job wise), and get a feel for what it is like.

READ EVERY WORD OF THE CONTRACT BEFORE SIGNING!

If you still want to join after that, then get everything you can from the military, make it work FOR you.

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

I too served in the US Army,

I too served in the US Army, for 9 years. I worked in EW/SIGINT the whole time, mostly at Ft. Bragg. I joined at 17, and by 18 had done more than most people had by the time they reached retirement age. I too served before DADT. At the time, I was what most would call a "lifer," I had made the military my career, and would have been retiring this summer. For 9 years, I was lucky. I had skills the US Army needed badly (most with my scores wanted to go into computer engineering and programming in the private sector), and I had a stepfather who was high ranking and who also had my back.

There was no DADT at the time, there was just "if you're anything but straight, we'll ruin your life." I was subjected to regular security checks, due to the nature of the work I did. No one really thought to ask me "the question" before, until the last check. On that one, I was asked, and I had no choice but to tell (Leavenworth simply did not appeal to me). One never lies on those security checks, especially back then, with the Cold War coming very close to turning hot.

I ended up going from E-5 to E-1 in less than a week and received an "Other Than Honorable" discharge. I lost all accumulated leave (three months worth), and all my benefits. While not as bad as a dishonorable discharge, the OTH discharge still hurts to this day in a lot of ways.

The really weird thing is, the last few years they've tried to recall me a couple of times. DADT has actually stopped that process, since I have zero intentions of returning to the closet. While I did do a lot of growing up in the military, I had to leave the US Army to "be all I could be," lol. Now that I am living my life openly and honestly, I could never imagine having to hide such integral aspects of who I am again. I'm not even sure I could at this point.

I'm also fairly certain I would not be willing to defend the freedoms and rights of so many who seek to take mine away at every opportunity, as well as those of the people I care about. While at 17 I was pretty ignorant as to the depths of the hatred focused on the LGBT population, today my eyes are wide open.

You are right about one thing, it's hard to describe what the military is like to people who haven't been in the military. It's a whole different culture and mindset. I liked serving (yeah, true lifer), but I didn't like it when the military betrayed me over something that was never an issue before some civilian asked an irrelevant question.

Steph H's picture

Firstly, I find it

Firstly, I find it astonishing that people thinks it okay to ask people they don't know about their personal life? I never ask anyone at work about their home life, unless they bring it to the table in the first place.

I would see how the land lies in the first few days but if NZ employment law is anything like UK employment law, if they did kick you out for being gay you could sue their arses to kingdom come.

Good luck with your new job!

Steph
xx

CA_Medicine_Woman's picture

That episode of TLW did get

That episode of TLW did get that one right. A movie from a few years back (GI Jane) showed just how such witch hunts can be used to promote certain agendas as well.

And, yeah, the top brass has been saying for years that DADT is a disaster, especially after working with NATO Forces since 2001, many nations of which allow gays and lesbians to serve openly and without any consequence. Spain remains the most progressive right now, allowing post-op transsexuals to serve as well. The issue for commanders is they are losing critical personnel at a very critical time over something that is relatively trivial when you're on the front lines.

I'm a veteran, and I talk to quite a few others who are as well. The consensus is, when you're wounded and under enemy fire, the only thing you care about being straight is your buddy's aim, period.

Robin Rigby's picture

They're discharged for just

They're discharged for just the idea that they 'might' be gay. The L Word actually got that one fairly accurately (from what I've heard).

Haven't pretty much all of the top brass said that DADT is a disaster and there's no good goddamn reason not to let gays serve?

Xanadu's picture

So are they discharged for

So are they discharged for not hiding 'the gay' or for not saying they were straight when confronted by someone?

.....

Meanwhile here in NZ, our newly elected (right wing) government rushed through a 90 day 'work trial' law. Basically it means if you new employer (or management) doesn't like something (anything) about you - they can fire you on the spot and you have no grounds for an unfair dismissal case.

Everyone says this is fantastic, as it will 'weed out' the bad workers.

Any thinking person (me) knows that racist, sexist, anti-pregnant worker, homophobic employers will abuse this law.

So I'm starting my new job soon and for the first time in my working life, I decided I was going to be proudly OUT from day one.

Now when all the women in the office gather around me, asking me highly personal questions about my life - Married? Engaged? Boyfriend? Who do you live with? - or some guy asks me out for a drink, I am now faced with a very real decision ... to lie or be honest? (for a whole 90 DAYS!)

lucia_2008's picture

Wow, this is a huge step.

Wow, this is a huge step. Will be keeping a close watch.

Smile...life is good!!!

little_earth's picture

Thank you

Thank you

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow

Erin Blackwell's picture

may the wind be at your back.

may the wind be at your back.

little_earth's picture

I'm done with college for

I'm done with college for now, I just have to pay back 60K for it. I already work for the Federal government. And the politicians do suck for exploiting the military. I had the idea when I was younger but the recruiters never followed up (don't know why, everyone else I've ever talked to were practically stalked). Then I never really thought about it and certainly never planned to with all the crap that had been going on these past many years.

But since it appears Obama won't have his head in his ass (hopefully) and DADT will be going (hopefully soon), it seems like a possibility now. It just seems like something that I can do, that would be good for me to do. I don't know why and I can't explain it, but when I heard the news I thought, hmmm, I should look into that. And I'm going to. And I find myself to be rather serious about it.

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow

Rusty's picture

As an Army vet, I have mixed

As an Army vet, I have mixed feelings about military service. On the one hand, I am incensed about what Cheney/Bush put my sisters and brothers in uniform through. Not just the multiple deployments but using them as torturers and props for their "war on terror." I hope the respect both Obamas have shown to the military thus far signals a real understanding of what is and is not a military mission.

On the other hand, I got so much more out of my service than I put in that I can't even begin to quantify it. Not the least of which is that I could not have afforded my undergrad education without the Army.

I was in before DADT. I never served in a unit where it was an issue, but I know other people who had rough times and received dishonorable discharges. I lucked out.

I wrote this piece last year; it's the closest I've been able to come to describing what being military means:
http://lezbang.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1672&Itemid=69

"When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will." ~ Pollyanna

Erin Blackwell's picture

hats off to the army. they're

hats off to the army. they're great. i have no argument with them. i have an argument with the politicians who exploit them.

if it's education you want, get an education. get some counselling and apply to more than one college, silly. the Guard is no longer at-home. take yourself seriously. you've only got ONE life.

Erin Blackwell's picture

that's what army surplus

that's what army surplus stores are for

minniesota's picture

Same with my family

Same with my family Little_Earth. For example, all of my brothers got their college education via the GI bill. I went into debt.

Still searching for the right brainy quote.

little_earth's picture

Military is a family thing

Military is a family thing (my Dad, all my uncles, most of my male cousins, mainly because education "wasn't" an option) and has always been my "backup" plan if I didn't get into exactly the education I wanted to (I only ever applied to one college... both times). I like the Guard (both my Bro and Sis-in-Law were/are in, Army and Air respectively) because they are the "at home" soldiers, even though my sis spent a year in Saudi Arabia.

And it would go to show, how truely wrong they were in putting that damn act in place!

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow

little_earth's picture

Hell yeah!

Hell yeah!

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow

little_earth's picture

I need help to pay for the

I need help to pay for the school I've already done!

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow

Tex's picture

Why not do

Why not do both?

http://www.military.com/education-home/

I know how you feel about the military machine, but it is a necessary evil at this point in time......I wish it weren't, but it is. It will be people such as L_E that will make our machine formidable - understanding the true meaning of protecting and honoring all people's basic human rights.

Twitter Time @kdhales

Tex's picture

FANTASTIC! Absolutely

FANTASTIC! Absolutely fantastic! I am ecstatic about this! Makes me wantta go out and kiss a woman in uniform - well, I guess I'd better wait a bit on that BUT, once this is repealed we're making up for lost time!

Seriously, DADT has been an unequal rights thorn in my side for quite a while.....this is HUGE, HUGE, I'm tellin' ya! A huge federal first step soon to be taken!

Now I'm all fired up again about DADT - my god almighty, how can you ask someone to protect you, put their life on the line for you, possibly make the ultimate sacrifice for your rights and freedoms, and then turn around and tell them that their own rights and freedoms are denied?

A big thanks to everyone who serves.....

Tex

Twitter Time @kdhales

Julia Watson's picture

Call Ms. One-Track-Mind, but

Call Ms. One-Track-Mind, but I'm all for anything that means more hot dykes in uniform.

Erin Blackwell's picture

why not go to school instead?

why not go to school instead?

Grace Moon's picture

Right on.

Right on.

tweet tweet @gracemoon

little_earth's picture

If this passes soon then I

If this passes soon then I might consider joining the Guard

Lots of Love - little_earth "Occasionally, I'm callous and strange" - Willow