Now Free Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Gay And Lesbian Soldiers Thrive


The New York Times this weekend looks at how gay and lesbian military cadets are doing now that Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been swept into the dustbin of history. Turns out, they're doing pretty great.

Still "savoring" the new openness and inclusion that emerged after the discriminatory law keeping them in the closet was abolished, gay and lesbians at military academies are increasingly organized on campuses from coast-to-coast.

On the day known as Blue Rush, when incoming freshmen learn about extracurricular activities, Lydia Hill and Brandon Reams were making history, introducing their fellow cadets to Spectrum, the academy’s first club for gay, lesbian and bisexual students and their straight friends and supporters.

"My biggest fear was that nobody would show up at our table," said Ms. Hill, a sophomore and a co-president of the new club. "I was afraid that people would pass us by."

Some cadets averted their eyes. Others stopped for a moment and quickly moved on. But by the end of the afternoon, 30 people had signed up. Ms. Hill, 19, who had wondered whether she would ever be fully accepted as a lesbian determined to build a career as an officer in the Air Force, was thrilled.

"I was overwhelmed," she said. "Having that many people sign up, it was, like, wow."

And yet conservatives like Michele Bachmann still think we should have left DADT in place. I'm no military expert, but it seems far better to have happy, well-adjusted soldiers than scared, isolated soldiers hiding in the shadows. But, again, I'm no expert.


  1. jason says

    While DADT repeal was a great thing, what I don’t like is this tendency of “gays” to form their own segregated clubs. I don’t find that appealing. I also don’t think that the military should allow such segregated clubs to exist.

    It’s always been a source of wonder that, while declaring their desire to be “out of the closet”, gay men and women are the first to form new closets in the form of segregated clubs based on identity. It’s a form of hypocrisy.

  2. NotafriendofJason! says

    Perhaps these groups are formed to share the mutual difficulties these cadets are experiencing being the first of their sexual orientation to OPENLY serve. And it is you they are serving!

  3. andrew says

    Gee, the sky didn’t fall. Straight military folk didn’t rush for the exit doors. Just one of the many predictions that the wing nut republicans got WRONG!

  4. Diogenes Arktos says

    @Michele Bachmann: You are not an expert, although you play one in Congress. It’s amusing that you opposed the repeal of DADT because the military shouldn’t be subject to a “social experiment”. You are just parroting another Conservative lie about history. Remember it was the *Liberals* who set about forming our new nation, which was heralded at the time as a “social experiment”.

    @Jason: In addition to agreeing wholehearedly with NotAFriendOfJason, get your facts straight. This is a gay/straight alliance, not a segregated club.

  5. StarGem says

    The clubs are NOT segregated. Anyone straight or gay can join. It even says so right in the text of the article.

  6. Diogenes Arktos says

    @Jason: even if the club were segregated, there needs to be a place for cadets who are now free from homophobic living situations to be supported as they deal with their issues of sexuality.

  7. ChristopherM says

    The headline is “Now Free Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Gay And Lesbian Soldiers Thrive.” Can anyone remember the last positive LGBT story about which Jason didn’t have something sh!tty to say? He must be a very depressed and lonely person.

  8. J.J. in the Navy says

    AckI got to serve under DADT for only a month during basic training. Since then I’ve been pretty open about being gay to anyone who asks. And lemme tell you, the water is perfectly fine. Most of my shipmates know I’m gay and they don’t care. They’re very comfortable about it. And these are guys who come from all of America’s racial, cultural, geographic, economic, religious, and political backgrounds! It’s a friggin’ non-issue! Hell, we even joke about gay stuff and none of them are squeamish about it. Look, some of these guys have gay and lesbian friends back home. One of my shipmates was raised by his lesbian mom and her partner and another shipmate has a gay son whom he loves very much. Hell, their girlfriends take them to drag shows!

    The trick is to be honest, happy, and unashamed about being gay. If you’re comfortable being gay and out of the closet, then they will respond positively to that. Hell, they even respect that. Not to toot my own horn, but being confident and comfortable about it makes you cooler in the eyes of your shipmates. At least that’s how it is in my case.

  9. Geoff says

    I’ve said it before, but Michele Bachmann’s opinion (on anything) lends about as much gravitas to the subject as a kazoo at a funeral. She had one, hand-me-down brain cell, it fell off…25 years ago…at someone else’s house…in another state.

  10. says

    Jason, sweetheart, why do you put “gays” in quotes? Do you not believe gays really exist? Do you disapprove of the term? Why are you on a “gay” blog?

    And maybe after marriage equality’s been the law of the land in the entire country for a while and no one can be fired anywhere for being “gay” then perhaps we will no longer need “gay” clubs.

  11. jason says

    I just think that the word “gay” is over-used and does not describe the breadth and range of male sexuality. It’s become a political word. It is wholly inadequate for describing male-male sexuality.

    Besides, the military shouldn’t be a place for dividing onself sexually. You’re not there to form a pick-up joint.

  12. Bob says

    A– Andrew, time to lose the self deprecating stuff
    B– Everyone, let’s quit replying to “Jason”, and it may slither away

  13. jason says

    Calling something a gay-straight alliance is a distortion of sexuality. It’s a false choice scenario wherein gay political agitators are turning a continuum into black and white scenario.

    While I think it’s great that DADT has been repealed and that things are getting better for those who were once discriminated against, it’s wrong for the agitators to frame sexuality thus. I will be ceaseless in my quest to expose these frauds who agitate and distort.

  14. Chuck Mielke says

    @ Jason, et al.: It’s easy to look at the the gay-specific groups and go, “but, but, but…” To make sense of it, you only need to look at the female clubs, the clubs defined by race/ethnicity, or by life interest. While our nation is, now, suffering the worst impacts of such self-selection, it remains a necessary function. People take comfort in small groups of like-minded others not only as defense from outside interests and groups, but also to affirm oneself and grow. More, it’s probably wrong to imagine these groups as products of the repeal of DADT. More likely, they existed before the repeal and only came to general notice since the repeal and folks could be more open. Gay clubs are really no different from sewing circles, book clubs, or NAACP-related groups. They usually help individuals to contribute to the larger body of which such clubs are subunits.

  15. says

    up next, including our trans brothers and sisters in this.

    allowing gay soldiers to serve openly is a step, but it’s not the end.

    now that “we’ve” got what we deserve, time to help extend that to the rest of our Family.

  16. says


    and this takes A LOT for me to say this….

    but your comments on this thread above are BY FAR, hands down, your most ignorant, foolish, flat out ridiculous comments you’ve ever made. We all knew you were a troll, but you used to hide it better. Now you’re just letting your ignorance showcase freely.

    Seriously straight up, every single comment you made above is shameful and laced with ignorants and reminds me of the exact person I don’t want to be.

    And P.S~ I’m gay. Not “male for male sexual” but GAY. Just as I’m biracial. Just as I’m an artist. And I’m proud of all those things.

  17. Jerry6 says

    Hey Gang! Let’s leave Jason (And the others like him} alone, already. They must have been filled with so many demons that it is surprising they have survived this far. But, as long as there are wing nuts out there who still want us all destroyed, we cannot let our guards down. So long as any have a voice in Government, or have a Sunday pulpit from which to preach against us, or a TV station to spout their nonsense, or print material to fill our mail boxes, we cannot let down our guards. So long as there are people so blind because they will not see, or so deaf because they will not hear, we must stay alert and not them gain back so much as one inch.

  18. anon says

    The article does seem to go out of the way to confirm the obvious, which is that DADT was an arbitrary regulation that no one liked and hurt morale. It’s repeal was almost 90% common sense and 10% fairness, though you can argue about those numbers if you want.

    DADT repeal was a repeal of a rule that allowed gays to serve in the military, which also required eliminating the older rule that gays were not allowed to serve (simple repeal was not enough). What conservatives want is not a return to DADT, but a return to the days when gays were not allowed to serve, period. So, don’t be fooled by talk of DADT coming back in any form, as there is little support for it from conservatives. If they achieved some sort of trifecta of presidency and large majorities in both houses, they probably still wouldn’t be able to bring it back.

  19. Schlukitz says

    Jason said:

    “I will be ceaseless in my quest to expose these frauds who agitate and distort.”

    Excluding, of course, himself.

    No agitator or distorter of facts, he.

  20. says


    Let’s not give so much attention to Jason’s comments.
    The real focus needs to be on how winning repeal is strategic to the LGBT equality movement and how its the right thing to do for the estimated 65,000 LGBT troops currently serving our nation!
    Our men and women are professionals of high integrity and they treat each other with respect, and have consequences if they don’t.
    I recently wrote an op-ed on why this victory is so strategic.

  21. andrew says

    @JJ In The Navy: I am really happy for you and all the Gay and Lesbian Service Members who can now serve openly and proudly. As a veteran who served as a radar operator on a Destroyer in the Dark Ages (1956-1959), I must admit I am a little envious. Happy sailing!