One year ago today Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed. For my family, that has had an enormous impact. All for the good…
I know a lot of people must think, It couldn’t have really been that big a deal. Let me assure you, it was. Not counting the constant vigilance my partner and I maintained regarding our relationship (and we were far less vigilant than many couples I know of), or the inability for my partner to have honest conversations at work about what she did over the weekend or her plans for an upcoming holiday, there was this: my daughter had to lie for us. She had to pretend that her stepmother was just a good friend, that we were not a family. I’m sure you can imagine the heartbreak in asking your child to lie for you.
A recently released study (PDF) makes it clear that the repeal of DADT has had no negative impact on US military readiness. But the negative impact of the policy itself, while still in place, has been discussed in many venues (e.g. first hand accounts as published by the NY Times and blog posts such as this one from Psychology Today). The scientific literature (PDF) has also started to weigh in on this.
The number of LGBTIQ service members is not known. Repeal has not meant that everyone has made the choice to come out, as my partner did. But in the year that has passed, I have encountered nothing that I could begin to classify as a negative response. From the various JAGs and other military personnel with whom I have worked I have been overwhelmed and grateful for just how accepting and supportive people have been across the services. I know my partner has had the same experience. So while the news is often full of sadness and despair, and we are constantly bombarded with stories of people being genuinely evil, it is lovely that in my corner of the world there has been this sliver of something really beautiful that has been blossoming over the past year. And today, at least, that means everything.
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