Guest Blogger

Advocacy alone won't change the status quo

Filed By Guest Blogger | May 06, 2010 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military, open letter, President Obama, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, SLDN

Editors' Note: "Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama" is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration's defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president's desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

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Today's open letter to President Obama is from former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll. It's after the jump.

May 6, 2010AnthonyMoll.JPG

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

My name is Anthony Moll and I am a bisexual veteran.

I served for eight years under the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law that has failed our nation. I left the service just 10 weeks ago, and I can now say: this is the time, Mr. President, to push ahead and end this law.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is just a couple weeks away from holding a key vote on including repeal in the Defense budget. The vote will be close. Please, do whatever you can.

I have been proud to serve my country since joining the Army shortly after the attacks on September 11, 2001. My proudest moment was raising my hand and volunteering to serve our country in its time of need.

When I enlisted in 2002, I knew what DADT said, but nothing could prepare me for what it meant.

I had never been closeted about my sexual orientation so joining meant not only keeping quiet, but also being asked to lie to those whom already knew. While my leaders were instilling the values of honesty and integrity in me, the law in place was forcing me to do the opposite.

I knew that despite serving with distinction as a military police officer protecting fellow soldiers and their families from harm, I could face expulsion. During my service I was hand-picked as a Phoenix Raven, an Air Force program in which only a handful of soldiers are asked to participate.

While serving as a handler in the military's working dog program, I worked with the Secret Service in detecting explosives - working to protect you.

In 2008, I was recognized as my installation's Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year and Joint Service Member of the Year. Despite this distinction, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law treated me as a second-class citizen.

While I excelled at every turn, this law forced me to be dishonest with my peers, my friends and my community. Our nation's heroes should not be forced to carry the burden of serving in silence when we need our troops keenly focused on their missions.

In the meantime, I'm not sitting on the sidelines. I am now working at the Human Rights Campaign on its efforts to repeal DADT now. But advocacy alone won't change the status quo.

Mr. President, tell Congress to move on repeal. Please allow my brothers and sisters-in-arms to live up to the Army values of respect, honor and integrity. Don't let another life be ruined by a failed policy that hurts our nation as well as our heroes.

Mr. President, lift the ban.


Respectfully,


Former Staff Sergeant Anthony Moll
United States Army


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Thanks for fighting for our basic freedoms and your freedom to serve honorably.

Eight years under DADT? Sounds to me like there ought to be a medal for that.

Hi Anthony,
Yours is a wonderful name as it is the name of my adopted son.
I am retired USAF, 100% gay, married and a Christian. We were the first combat unit into Vietnam [Young Tigers]. Although we were overseas before the war offically began.
During those days-early 60s-you never wanted to admit you were gay. We had to be abnormal, unnatural and wrong. It was tough because I had a crush on several GIs but was closeted as we all were. I had convinced myself I was a straight man with gay feelings and did everything not to be gay.
I won some pretty good awards. A few Presidential citations, airman of the monty/quarter,
selected to represent our nation and base in a joint AF and Army war game.
I left the service staying in the closet for many years. I finally came out when I knew gay was my sexual orientation and not a choice. I had some rough times in the military because some thought I was gay-but overall I had a good career.
I wish you the best and thanks for serving our nation. We have always kept our military in our prayers.
I got injurned and as a side note a retired chaplain bought me a leather recliner so I could sleep at night.
God bless you. You are honorable.