Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hub

A Gay Secret is Discovered in New Clip from Military Drama 'Burning Blue': VIDEO


Last month we reported that the long-in-development feature film adaptation of the 1995 play Burning Blue is headed to the big screen in select theaters and VOD on June 6.

The filmmakers have just released a new clip from the film, about Navy fighter pilots who fall in love under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and are exposed during a government investigation into a series of fatal accidents.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Watch the full trailer HERE if you missed it.

Continue reading "A Gay Secret is Discovered in New Clip from Military Drama 'Burning Blue': VIDEO" »

Military Continues To Dismiss Transgender Service Members: Video

Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 8.54.15 PM

The repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2011 may have eliminated the discriminatory military policy for gays, lesbians and bisexuals, but not for everyone in the LGBT community. Sadly, transgender service members can still be dismissed from the armed forces.

The Washington Post reports:

Transgender service members can still be dismissed from the force without question, the result of a decades-old policy that dates back to an era when gender nonconformity was widely seen as a mental illness.

The policy, however, is now coming under scrutiny as service members like Wilson become more visible. Transgender service members are increasingly undergoing procedures to align their bodies more closely with the genders with which they identify. Medical experts, meanwhile, are urging the Defense Department to rescind a policy they view as discriminatory and outdated, noting that some of America’s closest allies, including Canada, Britain and Australia, have done so seamlessly.

Although the American Psychiatric Association revised its manual last year to indicate gender nonconformity is “not in itself a mental disorder,” the Defense Department relies on guidelines that describe transgender individuals as sexual deviants, and their condition as a “paraphilia.” Thousands of transgender men and women are now serving in the military while remaining in the closet, according to studies.

Some background on how activists approached the fight to repeal DADT several years ago:

Although transgender service members were avid supporters of the repeal, activists who led the effort were careful not to inject the plight of transgender service members into the debate.

“There was a certain reticence to discuss it in any official way with stakeholders for fear of complicating the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said Allyson Robinson, a former Army officer and transgender activist. “There was a very clear awareness among all the organizations that worked on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that this issue was going to remain outstanding.”

While it's estimated that approximately 140,000 transgender people have at one point served in the U.S. military, no statistics are available on the number dismissed from the military.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Cathy Wilkinson, said the Defense Department does not know how many service members have been discharged for being transgender. She said the Pentagon has no plan to change its medical qualification standards based on the changes to the psychiatric association’s entry on gender disorder, but she noted that medical policies are being constantly reviewed.

AFTER THE JUMP, watch a Washington Post news segment about Landon Wilson, a 24-year-old transgender service member who was dismissed from the military just last month.

Continue reading "Military Continues To Dismiss Transgender Service Members: Video" »

Gay Fighter Pilot 'DADT' Drama 'Burning Blue' Comes to the Big Screen: VIDEO


Burning Blue, the 1995 off-Broadway play about Navy fighter pilots who fall in love under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and are exposed during a government investigation into a series of fatal accidents, has been adapted for the big screen.

The film, directed by DMW Greer, stars Trent Ford, Morgan Spector , Rob Mayes  William Lee Scott, Cotter Smith, Michael Cumpsty. It hits select theaters and VOD on June 6.

Watch the film's trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Gay Fighter Pilot 'DADT' Drama 'Burning Blue' Comes to the Big Screen: VIDEO" »

Stephen Hill, Heckled Gay Army Captain From 2012 YouTube Debate, Opens Up


The LA Times offers an in-depth profile on former Army Captain Stephen Hill, who famously came out via a YouTube question he posed to the 2012 Republican presidential candidates regarding a potential re-instatement of Don’t Ask Don’t tell (which was repealed in September, 2011). You’ll recall Hill’s question garnered boos from the audience and a less than encouraging response from then Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. The LA Times provides a fascinating look at everything that led up to Hill’s decision to reveal who he was to the world and to put those vying to lead the country he had served for 23 years on the spot on an issue that hit home:

If [any of the Republican candidates win in 2012 and reinstate Don't Ask, Don't Tell], he could lose his career. His uniform. His pension. His identity as a soldier. His honorable discharge. Everything.

He learns that Google and YouTube are hosting a nationally televised debate in Orlando, Fla., for the nine Republican presidential candidates. They are accepting questions...


He closes his door. Instead of his combat fatigues, he wears a T-shirt that says ARMY. It is less official, he reasons, and therefore less likely to get him in trouble if he is discovered. It also displays his gigantic biceps, which he has not spent 20 years developing so he can hide them.

His face, he hides.

I'm a gay soldier and there's been a lot of progress made in the military with the abolishment of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' My question is that under one of your presidencies would you try to change what's been made for progress for gay people in the military?

He sends it in and waits. Viewers are allowed to vote on potential questions, and he is informed that his question is a hit. But now YouTube has another, much scarier request:

Would you consider revealing your identity?

Hill doesn't need time to consider. There's no chance. He has too much to lose.

[His husband, Jeff] Snyder reminds him that they are now married, and that it would not be hard for his command to discover this, and that if the ban is reinstated, he will be kicked out anyway...

In the subject line of his next email to YouTube, he writes: I have reconsidered.

The rest, they say is history. You can read the rest of the profile HERE.

AFA's Sandy Rios: Gays and Women in the Military Will Undermine Effectiveness of Syrian Strike - AUDIO

Sandy RiosAmerican Family Association nut Sandy Rios today warned that any potential U.S. military intervention in Syria may fail as a result of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the opening of additional Navy positions to female service members.

Said Rios on her radio show:

"When I looked at those battleships going into the Mediterranean, supposedly getting ready for battle in Syria, I couldn't help think about all the stories I've read about how women now are in the ranks of the Navy, getting pregnant at exponential numbers; when I think about the folding in and the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and the homosexual takeover of so much of our military I'm not sure how effective those naval ships will be."


Continue reading "AFA's Sandy Rios: Gays and Women in the Military Will Undermine Effectiveness of Syrian Strike - AUDIO" »

Grant Launches New Studies About Transgender Military Service

The end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a landmark in the quest for equality for all LGBT soldiers. Unfortunately, its impact tended to affect some more than others, as transgendered troops continue to be ineligible for open service in today's armed forces. 

The Palm Center intends to help end that reality. Thanks to a new $1.35 million-dollar grant, the institute is launching the Transgender Military Initiative, which plans to conduct 11 studies, attempting to find "whether and how the U.S. armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness," according to a press release. The Palm Center is previously known for "coordinating more than a decade of research into the military’s 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy," and intends to take a similar approach once again. The group plans to conduct research "in areas ranging from privacy and medical accommodations to the experiences of foreign militaries and sports programs" over the next three years.

The project's leader, Indra Lusero, explained the potential significance of this new research in a statement to BuzzFeed:

"This academic research will inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about transgender military service and gender expression in armed forces. Militaries around the world are updating their policies, and we are already conducting research in Canada, Britain and Australia to learn whether their trans-inclusive regulations have impacted readiness." 

Trans militaryThe grant money comes courtesy of the Tawani Foundation, which is run by Col. James Pritzker, cousin of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Tawani's stated purpose is “to affect significant transformation of organizations and educational programs that enrich knowledge, preserve military heritage, improve health and wellness and conserve unique sites for enduring positive impact on individuals, communities and societies.” Nathaniel Frank, the author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America and a former Palm Center staffer himself, would no doubt agree that this new research could certainly accomplish that goal. He praised the news, saying: 

“The education dimension for getting people to understand the importance of openly gay service in the military, getting the country and the military and the Congress in the right position was a long game. The same kind of long game in regard to transgender service has not yet been played.”

The group claims that the Transgender Military Initiative is the first study of transgender military service to be conducted on such a large scale. No doubt that trans troops such as former SEAL Team 6 member Kristin Beck are hoping that this study elicits an impact on par with its scale. Unfortunately, due to the nature of this new "don't ask, don't tell", we won't know exactly how many trans troops there are until we allow them to serve openly. 


Towleroad - Blogged