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breaking the silence
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The End Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Is Met With Business As Usual
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The End Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is Met With Business As Usual

Although there are critics and doomsayers, the end of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, often shortened to DADT, was met with minor celebration and then with business as usual, highlighting the absurdity of one of the biggest fears that opponents have had all along. The new policy, one that is meant to be blind to sexual orientation will not change the readiness of the military, according to Pentagon top brass.

First Lt. Josh Seefried, an airman serving on a New Jersey base had previously only been known as J. D. Smith, the cofounder and co director of OutServe, a part of the Association of Actively Serving LGBT Military Personnel. He used the pseudonym when speaking to the media on the topic. That is also the name on the book that he wrote, “Our Time: Breaking the Silence of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Amazon has announced that that book will be available with Seefried’s name on the cover.

In 2002, Alex Nicholson of Servicemembers United earned a discharge from the Army under the old DADT policy. He is applauding the repeal of the policy. Others who were discharged or felt like they had to leave the service are now looking at rejoining now that DADT has been repealed.

Elaine Donnely is one of the main opponents of this latest action, stating that it would be something that the current administration should not be proud of doing. Donnely, who is with a group called the Center for Military Readiness has serious concerns about gays and lesbians in the military and how it will make the “loyal” troops feel. She has also said that there might not be an immediate decline in the number of troops because of the economy but that it will become a problem very quickly.

Several groups have said that while the repeal of DADT is a step forward, it is only the tip of the iceberg as gay couples in the military still face some discrimination. The military will not acknowledge a same sex partner nor extend military benefits for that partner. Those groups say they are going to work on getting the same rights as other couples, rights they say have been earned in dangerous countries and situations.

Donnely and other groups have cited statistics time and time again in their argument for keeping the policy in place and now for reinstating it, but some disagree with the numbers they are coming up with. Seefried’s magazine, OutServe recently featured a photo spread of over one hundred openly gay service people who were willing to pose. Seefried estimates that it was only a small percentage of the over 70,000 service members who are also part of the LGBT community.

Women, who make up a smaller portion of the military overall were more greatly affected by the DADT policy and its repeal. A number of women, many who had to fight for their place in their units to begin with were forced to end their military careers because of their sexual orientation.

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