Army Sergeant Darren Manzella, whose story was featured on the recent 60 Minutes episode covering “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, will make his first public appearance for the Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network on January 9 from 6-8pm, at the Army-Navy Club (at 901 17th Street, N.W.) in Washington D.C.
According to SLDN, “The event, which is free and open to the public, will also feature Darren’s mom, Nancy Manzella, who is traveling to Washington to support Darren as he speaks out about his experience serving as an openly gay soldier.”
Said Manzella shortly after the 60 Minutes broadcast: “I have not received any notification, positive or negative, from my command since I notified them of my participation in the story or since the broadcasting of the segment…I have served with many men and women in Iraq, Kuwait and throughout the United States. In my opinion, they do not care if a service member is gay or straight. These men and women are my brothers and sisters in arms and I am the same to them. I know that what matters to most is not the sexual orientation of the person in your unit. What matters most is if that person is a good worker, a team player and most importantly, if that person has your back when it rewally matters whether it be in a combat zone, during a training exercise or day to day operations. I think that a majority of troops are in favor, or at the very least indifferent, to the repeal of this policy. I find that many are surprised that so much power and influence over the fate of this policy lies in the hands of individuals who are not even in the ranks of the military.”
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