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Soldiers' Civilian Partners, Long-Silent, Celebrate End of DADT

Dadt Don't Ask, Don't Tell ends on Tuesday. And with it goes years of gay and lesbian soldiers communicating with their civilian partners in code. The AP has a long report on their plight and happier, though still-uncertain future: 

After 19 years hiding her relationship with an active-duty Army captain, Cathy Cooper is getting ready to exhale.

On Tuesday, the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell" will expire. And Cooper will dare speak her love's name in public.

"This is life-changing," said Cooper, choking up. "I just want to be able to breathe — knowing I can call my partner at work and have a conversation without it having to be in code."

When the end comes on Tuesday, expect parties (apparently none of them official): 

Night-long celebrations will mark the final countdown to the historic end of the U.S. military's ban on openly gay troops, and even more partying will take place once it is lifted Tuesday. But in many ways change is already here...

Several have come out to their peers and commanders.

A few have since placed photographs of their same-sex partners on their desks and attended military barbecues and softball games with their significant others. In San Diego, about 200 active-duty personnel — both gay and heterosexual — made up the nation's first military contingency to participate in a Gay Pride march this summer, carrying banners identifying their branches of service. An Army soldier had tears, saying she was touched by the thousands cheering them on, after hiding her identity for so long.

"We're Gay. Get Over it," stated the cover page of the Marine Corps Times distributed to bases worldwide a week ahead of Tuesday's repeal.

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Comments

  1. Mixed in this article with the things to celebrate is a lot of nonsense. The author is a virtual Old Faithful, regularly gushing false assertions about DADT that old-fashio­ned fact checking could have prevented. First, contrary to arrogant, willfully ignorant hype at the time [and recently regurgitated by the "Washington Blade"] the San Diego event was NOT the nation's first military contingenc­y to participat­e in a Gay Pride march. Participat­ion by active duty and veteran gays goes back to at least 1975 as I documented with photos at: http://www­.lgbtpov.c­om/2011/07­/michael-b­edwells-hi­story-less­on-gay-ser­vicemember­s-have-mar­ched-in-ot­her-parade­s/

    2nd: LONG before "the last 60 days, [Pentagon officials reviewed] policies & benefits to iron out details, including ... housing, military transfers & other health & social benefits"—t­hat was all done LAST YEAR & summarized in the Pentagon's November 30th report. 3rd: the Circuit Court blocked enforcemen­t again last month despite the fact that the Administration is STILL fighting them. 4th: Her naive lollipops and roses characterization of pre-repeal implementation "training" reads as if she swallowed it from the SAME erroneous "Blade" story. The truth is that far from washing away prejudice, it only emphasized "process" including the fact gay troops will be DENIED equal status to nongays, thus, REINFORCIN­G prejudice.

    And the Pentagon's PREMEDITATED intent to discriminate is, contrary to the author's education-deprived surface analogy, is why this IS like what happened after racial integratio­n when it took years more to enforce Truman's FULL Executive Order which was "equal opportunit­y" not just integration which, in fact, it didn't mention integratio­n at all. In short, as much as there is reason to celebrate one era of bigotry ending Tuesday, another era of bigotry begins—and one of the things that made that possible is the indefensible ignorance permeating both gay and mainstream media for the last two and a half years, settling for "received wisdom" rather than looking beneath the shiny surface.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell@LeonardMatlovich.com | Sep 18, 2011 6:23:03 PM


  2. Wow. I'm more impressed by the first comment than I am by the post. Thanks, Michael Bedwell, whoever you are.

    Posted by: Anon | Sep 18, 2011 8:15:59 PM


  3. @ Michael Bedwell,

    You're certainly entitled to demand that the Pentagon institute programs to fight prejudice. I agree with you on that. But that would go in the editorial section of LGBT or mainstream news publications. Accurate journalism (outside the editorial section) means reporting what actually happens. In this case, the Pentagon consistently stated that training would only explain the change in policy. Whether you or I agree with the Pentagon's plans for training is not the point of accurate journalism. Both LGBT and mainstream news publications reported that news accurately. In the editorial sections of both LGBT and mainstream news outlets, you might very well find writers agreeing with your position that training to fight prejudice is needed. But their factual reporting of the Pentagon's statements and plans is, nonetheless, accurate.

    On a more humorous note, it's absolutely hilarious that you're now at odds with the reporting of your erstwhile hero, Aravosis. (LMFAO) In this case, the Fourth Estate is doing its job, not displaying "indefensible ignorance," as you put it.

    Posted by: Artie | Sep 18, 2011 8:41:33 PM


  4. know what I bet? I bet that when gay service personnel are free to come out after tomorrow very few people will be surprised at who's gay - or care. I bet by far the majority serving with gay people know it, know who they are, have known for some time and never cared.

    Posted by: Danny | Sep 19, 2011 7:20:04 AM


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