TEXT OF LETTER FROM CITIZENS FOR REPEAL TO DEFENSE DEPT:
June 7, 2010
We, as openly gay and lesbian service men and women, write to you today to express our dismay at a significant omission from current efforts to study the impact of repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The dilemma created by current policies effectively prevents interviews of gay and lesbian servicemembers and the heterosexual colleagues who knowingly serve alongside them, and it has left a gaping hole in the current investigation.
Many of us have served, and will continue to serve, openly in our units —across all branches of the military. It is unlikely that any servicemembers will speak out honestly regarding open service because of the scarlet letter that has been symbolically placed on gay and lesbian men and women in the military. Leadership that has allowed open service would dare not admit it for fear of retaliation. These are the very units that should be studied the most, for they most clearly demonstrate the capacity for soldiers to serve with each other, regardless of sexual orientation, while still being highly effective at their service to our country.
This unbalanced debate hurts our military cohesion when we need it the most. Our heterosexual counterparts see their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters at arms being unjustifiably called “a social experiment” and “potential rapists” while no leadership defends us. The very groups that make these claims have direct access to the Pentagon working group, but gay and lesbian soldiers who risk their lives every day, do not.
Failure to directly interview gay and lesbian troops will result in failure to show that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has allowed the worst of atrocities to occur in our military and go unreported. Gay and lesbian servicemembers are given the choice to either report heinous crimes, such as rape, blackmail, and assault, or sacrifice the careers they love.
We ask that you allow the Pentagon working group to approach gay members of the military, under the current policy, without fear of retribution. We ask that our current service be respected as this critical inquiry proceeds. As we lay our lives on the line like our colleagues we ask our leaders to honor our service and respect our sacrifice by defending our service against these attacks.