Michael Crawford

Honoring GLBT Veterans

Filed By Michael Crawford | November 11, 2007 10:19 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gay rights, military, Veterans Day

In honor of Veteran's Day The Frontlines, the blog of the Sevicemembers Legal Defense Network, has been running a series of posts about gay and lesbian vets who were kicked out of the military for being gay. In the roughly ten years since the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was put in place more than 11,000 soldiers have been forced out because of their sexual orientation.

Even as the military has such serious trouble meeting its recruiting goals because of the Iraq and is enlisting gang members, white supremacists and convicted drug dealers, openly gay American men and women are still denied the opportunity to serve their country through military service.

Yes, you read that right. Military policy requires that any soldier found to be gay or lesbian or even under suspicion of being gay and lesbian be kicked out of the military even as gang members, white supremacists and convicted felons are welcomed with open arms.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a ridiculous policy that has damaged the lives of thousands of gay and lesbian soldiers, squandered their skills and training and harmed the military's ability to do its job effectively. More than 800 gay soldiers with skills deemed mission critical have been kicked out simply for being gay including more than 300 language specialists.

Read the posts at Honor Every Veteran.

SLDN and other organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign have been working aggressively to repeal the ban against openly gay soldiers. As part of that effort, SLDN is organizing a lobby day in which LGBT veterans and supporters will meet with members of Congress to urge them to repeal DADT. SLDN Lobby Day 2008 is scheduled for March 6 and 7. Below are details from SLDN:

Join SLDN for Lobby Day!

Come to Washington DC on Friday March 7, 2008, to tell Congress in person: Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell!"

With your help, we will visit every Congressional office in a single day and hold a rally in front of the Capitol drawing attention to the urgent need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Register today!

Ground Forces: Raise visibility on Capitol Hill with one powerful day of action! Spend Friday March 7 making an impact with visits to Congressional offices and a rally for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. Ground Forces registration cost is $10 ($5 for students) and covers lobbying training, breakfast, and a t-shirt.

Captains Track: Step up your activism with a high-powered role in SLDN's Lobby Day! Start Lobby Day on Thursday March 6 with in-depth training on advocating on Capitol Hill and back at home. After the training you can arrange to meet with your Members of Congress in person. Then you'll lead the charge with the Ground Forces on Friday March 7! Captains Track registration cost is $50 and covers in-depth training, food, and a t-shirt.

Note: You will get email with all the details about where to go and what to do when you register for Lobby Day 2008.

Join SLDN for Lobby Day and send Congress a clear message: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has to go!


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Even as the military has such serious trouble meeting its recruiting goals because of the Iraq and is enlisting gang members, white supremacists and convicted drug dealers, openly gay American men and women are still denied the opportunity to serve their country through military service.

Three points:
1. I'm not very interested in demonizing people convicted of selling drugs. Especially not in this country with our flawed (to say the least) criminal justice system and the growing private prison industry.
2. I wouldn’t say that being a convicted drug dealer or gang member and being gay are mutually exclusive anyway.
3. And having no other option to pay for college or secure a job other than the military really doesn’t count as an ‘opportunity’ in my opinion.

I agree that DADT must be repealed immediately because it is dangerous and violent. But I fundamentally disagree with the pro-American-militarism-Ra!-Ra!-Opportunity-To-Serve-Boo!-Boo!-Felons-Make-Us-More-Effective-At-Killing-People type of rhetoric often used by gay activists to argue that point. Because the military itself is dangerous and violent too.

Yup.