I just watched the linked video by Lady Gaga, asking the Senate to vote to put an end to the discriminatory 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT)law enacted in 1993 by President Clinton as a compromise allowing GLBT citizens of the United States to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. Lady Gaga got a busy signal when trying to call Senator Schumer's office, and a full voice mail box at Senator Gillibrand's office. In 1993, I was in High School in Miami, and DADT was heralded by some as a step forward, and hated by others as a kind of 'separate but equal' law that forced people like me back into the proverbial closet. Today, almost twenty years later, we live in a nation, and indeed, a world that is very different from the one we lived in back then. Five U.S. States and the District of Columbia now perform Gay Marriages, states like New York recognize marriages performed by other states as legal and binding, and California's hateful Proposition 8 has been declared unconstitutional by a Federal Judge appointed by George H.W. Bush.
Laura Bush, Nancy Reagan, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, and many many other so called 'conservative' leaders agree that it is time to put an end to the discrimination, as does much of the Military leadership. The cost of identifying, investigating, Court Martial, and discharge of the thousands of people who offered their lives in service of this nation can not only be measured in the millions, if not billions of dollars, but in the unthinkable loss of talented soldiers, leaders, translators, and officers during a time of war. Some people will say that because I am a gay man myself, that I have a bias with regard to this issue. I say they are right. They have never had to live in a world that makes it OK for people to beat them, hit them in the face with bricks, assault them verbally, attack them psychologically, or have any of the other things that I have had done to me in my life done to them. I have seen friends killed, been beaten down, been made to feel worthless and condemned, and I am still here, fighting for the same rights that are guaranteed me by the United States Constitution. Should I, or any other person like me, choose to serve our nation by entering the Armed Services, we should be allowed to do so proudly and openly. Our spouses should be allowed the same rights and privileges afforded to heterosexual couples. Our lives should not mean any less than those of our heterosexual counterparts should we die in service to our country.
I have spent my adult life living it out loud and proud and open. Not because I want attention or recognition, but because I have always believed it was my JOB to stand up and take the hits for those who could not take them for themselves. And take those hits I have; conversion therapy, beatings, sexual violation, verbal abuse, social exile are just a few of the things I have been forced to experience in my journey. I AM STILL HERE. I AM STILL FIGHTING. I WILL NOT STOP. There are so many others who have fallen on this road, or who have gone into a life of lies, pretending to be someone and something they are not. I fight for them, I fight for those who came before us, I fight for those who will come after. My fight is not one of military, rather of militant methods. I will not be afraid to continue, because so many others can not do for themselves what I will put my life on the line to do. I will be a part of the change I want to see in the world. I will not let a busy signal stop me.
What will you do?