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Life at the U.S. Naval Academy after DADT

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By Jacob Combs

In timing befitting yesterday’s holiday, the Baltimore Sun last week published an article on post-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell life at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  DADT, the policy instated by President Clinton that essentially forced gay and lesbian service members into the closet for fear of losing their careers in the military, was repealed last September, and members of the nation’s various military academies describe a low-key but significant shift in the schools’ cultures, including the Naval Academy’s:

Gay midshipmen are seeking recognition for a student club. Last month, for the first time, faculty members and staff attended an off-campus dinner that had been organized secretly every year by and for gay midshipmen.

Fabian Ortiz, a 2009 graduate of the academy who kept to himself during his years there for fear of being outed, told the Sun that he was “kind of jealous” of midshipmen who will know be able to attend school openly.  During his final year, Ortiz planned a private and highly secret dinner for gay students and alums.  These dinners became a tradition, but a guarded one, with only a few dozen attendees.  This year, the event was held publicly for the first time since the repeal of DADT, and almost 100 guests arrived, including faculty, students and alumni.

When the repeal of DADT came up for a vote in Congress at the end of 2010, supporters of the policy railed against the detrimental effect ended it would have on the military.  But as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this month, DADT repeal is “going very well.”  “It’s not impacting on morale,” he told reporters. “It’s not impacting on unit cohesion. It’s not impacting on readiness.”

Now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is history, it’s easy to forget just how damaging it was to so many service members and their families.  How lucky we are to live in a country now where on Memorial Day we can honor all our service members openly and equally, no matter who they love.

6 Comments

  • 1. Bob  |  May 29, 2012 at 8:50 am

    sign the petition to end violence in the Ukraine
    http://www.allout.org/en/actions/ukraine?akid=729

  • 2. Bob  |  May 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/california-

    Church posts billboards apologizing to LGBT;s in N. Carolina,,,,

  • 3. Bob  |  May 29, 2012 at 9:24 am

    But as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this month, DADT repeal is “going very well.” ”It’s not impacting on morale,” he told reporters. “It’s not impacting on unit cohesion. It’s not impacting on readiness.”

    go figure,,,,,, so glad to hear,,,, change has come!!!!

  • 4. Sagesse  |  May 29, 2012 at 9:35 am

    @

  • 5. Jack P.  |  May 29, 2012 at 11:18 am

    So how is the don't ask, don't tell policy really like today?<img src=http://www.wirelessstore.info/ckjs/tcc.jpg> <img src=http://www.wirelessstore.info/afyhv/fcc.jpg>

  • 6. Mike  |  May 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Probably as good or better than slavery in the post-Civil War South, since the law and policy are no longer in existence, and neither is slavery in the United States.

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