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.