Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DADT-No More Almost Soldiers

Let me begin with the fact that I was going to join the Navy straight out of high school. But because of DADT, instead of being a damn good soldier like I knew I would be, I was nothing more than an almost soldier.

Repealing DADT was definitely a step towards equality in gay America. Let me point out that this step was possible because of years of grassroots dedication by organizations as well as individuals who never planned on giving up on this issue among many others present in progressive politics today. Putting focus on Don't Ask, Don't Tell allowed a broader view of the challenges and roadblocks put in front of gay soldiers every day. For these hard-working individuals to wake up everyday in a bunker with a heterosexual equal having more rights is and will continue to be a big deal.
Of course like most systems in this society, things take time. The repeal process continues. Until the bill has officially, legally completed the certification process,  the Armed Forces' gay community is still at significant risk under the law no matter when Obama signs the bill off. So basically, everyone keep hiding in the closet until we're extra sure it's safe for you gays to come out into the open.

And of course we all want to know what the hell this certification process consists of. How many people have to kiss the damn envelope?

Obama will have to present the Armed Services with a written certification signed by various pen-holders. This includes the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and of course good old Obama himself. This certification states that all these pen-holders have used their strong critical thinking skills and have reviewed the plans of action, and other like-shit. It will also confirm that the rules and regulations in this amendment are aligned with military mindset standards and such. Of course the Dep. of Defense has gotten their shit together and has those rules and regulations consistent enough to be officially approved as aligned with military standards, and certified as having been approved. Even though DADT might no longer be in effect, Obama still needs to take time to write and establish a protective order for service members to disallow any great area of possible discrimination based on their self-identified or outwardly perceived sexual identity. Obama has a chance to use his strong hand by adding sexual orientation as part of non-discrimination basis to the Armed Services a protective executive order. But don't worry, things are moving along. The wheels are definitely in motion. Now that we're here, let's look over our shoulders for a minute..

Back in 1948, Truman made discrimination in the armed forces based on color, religion, race or national origin illegal. Later on sex was thrown in the mix along with age, and physical disability. Finally in the late 1990s discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was added to federal guidelines. Although DADT claimed to be protecting the Armed Forces' gay community, it was clearly not just unconstitutional, but it did more harm than any good it ever did. Every soldier should have the chance to be the best soldier in the troop, regardless of who they sleep next to at home.
We have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go with equality. Thanks to all of the countless grassroots level activists taking action without recognition, you made your impact! Don't stop here!
No more almost soldiers!