ONCE AGAIN, Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria, Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, who forcefully and unequivocally denounced racism at the Academy, demonstrates what an informed, courageous leader he is—and acknowledges one of our own.
"AND THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE." Many will remember when there were no positive stories in mainstream media about gay people regardless of our walk of life.... And even as that began to change, most of us of a certain age never imagined that any newspaper would some day publish feature stories celebrating a "gay wedding," including "The New York Times," once as homophobic as any other paper.
TODAY'S "TIME'S" FEATURE, "For Love of Country, and Each Other," at https://tinyurl.com/yd2wtrvy is also another celebration of the end to the American military ban. As happy as we are for Army Capt. Daniel Hall and Capt. Vincent Franchino who were married last Saturday in the chapel at West Point, we're saddened that good intentions didn't prevent the "Times" from continuing to publish historical ignorance in other areas—along with still stumbling over terminology decades after the "Time's" ban on using the word "gay" was finally lifted. "L period G period B period T period"??? Hello!!!).
FOR ANYONE, like the author, possibly still unaware:
1. they were only "the first active-duty, same-sex couple to exchange vows at the legendary Army post" in the sense that both men are active duty. In November 2012, Army 1st Lt Ellen Schick wed civilian Shannon Simpson albeit in West Point’s Old Cadet Chapel versus the newer, much larger Cadet Chapel where Franchino and Hall were married (as were a lesbian couple in 2012 and a gay male couple in 2013 though neither were, then, active duty).
2. the military banned LGBs for decades before the policy was codified into so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," during which time nearly TEN TIMES the number kicked out under DADT were 86ed. Worse, some were put in "Queer Stockades" and mental hospitals (photos) on top of any of the kind of hell DADT's victims experienced. Perpetuation and tolerance of the Big Lie that the ban and associated mistreatment began with DADT is not just intellectually moronic but an insult to the service and memories of the homophobic military's 100,000+ pre-DADT victims—as well as those who fought to stop it dating to at least 1964.
3. DADT did NOT apply to transgender service members except in the random imbecility of commanders who could not tell the difference between gender orientation and gender identity. The victimization of T service members was driven by ignorant policy not law.
4. the author's assertion that "[DADT] forbade any homosexual or bisexual member of the military from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages" betrays an embrace of the ubiquitous myth (read: con) that "gays WERE ALLOWED to serve as long as they didn't 'tell'." That's like saying, "Blacks can serve as long as they pass for White." The reality was that—however the military learned OR SUSPECTED that the service member was lesbian, gay, or bisexual—they could be asked and they could be kicked out whether or not they admitted it. Perpetuation and tolerance of this second Big Lie is also unacceptable.
Finally, the unequivocal use of "macho" in the article perpetuates the myth that only "men" can be the toughest soldiers thereby contributing to continued ignorant discrimination against women service members.
MAZEL TOV to the Franchino-Halls, but "The New York Times" can and must do better.
FOR THE GAY HISTORY LOVER on your gift list—and for yourself—no better new book this season than that by one of my heroes—former Major Margaret Witt's account o...f her history changing 2010 federal court victory reversing her being kicked out of the United States Air Force simply because she was gay.
"Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights" - https://tinyurl.com/y8k492p3
SEVEN YEARS AGO TODAY President Obama signed the bill that allowed for the repeal of DADT under certain conditions that were finally met in 2011. But too few remember—and many more never understood at the time—that his support of repeal was not enough to get top brass in the Pentagon and several members of Congress to finally stop fighting repeal. It took two successful court challenges—which too few also remember his Administration shamelessly fought—to convince recalcitrant homophobes to accept that either they ended the ban "their way" or the courts would their way. The first was by, yes, Log Cabin Republicans and the second by Margie. “The reason [Don’t Ask Don’t Tell] was repealed was because [Major Witt] put a real face on it.” - DADT repeal bill cosponsor Senator Joe Lieberman.
A TWENTY-YEAR VETERAN, she had literally been the poster woman for the Air Force's flight nurse program; saving lives, winning medals and the loyalty of her patients, peers, and supervisors. But she was outed, and the cold, cruel machinery of Don't Ask, Don't Tell clicked into gear, and she was kicked to the curb in 2006. Four courageous years later, after multiple court appearances and through two Administrations she pounded the final nail into the ban's coffin—35 years after Air Force TSgt. Leonard Matlovich purposely outed himself to challenge the policy ban which dated to WWII.
THANK YOU, Margie, for this book and for your service to your Country and to your Community. In my heart I kneel down.
IN MEMORIAM GAY WWII VETERAN ED ZASADIL. It's estimated that over 300 American WWII veterans die every day, and that only about 550,000—less than 4%—of the some... 16 million who served are left in 2017. Ed passed last Friday at age 93, survived by his partner of 55 years, fellow veteran Larry Simpson. He was drafted into the Army in 1943 right after his high school graduation, and was a devoted member and past Treasurer of the Chicago Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights. Thank you for your service to our Country and to our Community. Rest in Peace. Rest in Pride.
Photos courtesy of Tracy Baim, "Windy City Times."
SALUTING ON THIS ANNIVERSARY of the bombing of Pearl Harbor—20 of the hundreds of thousands of American gay men and lesbians who proudly served their country du...ring WWII even though they were denied most of the freedoms they were fighting for. And, of course, bisexual and transgender people served, too. FROM TOP ROW, Left to Right: HENRY GERBER (cofounded the first gay rights organization in the US in 1924), DALE JENNINGS (cofounder of the Mattachine Society in 1950; the first continuous gay rights organization in the US), DON SLATER (cofounder/editor of “ONE” magazine in 1953; the first continuous public gay periodical in the US), JOSÉ SARRIA (first out gay candidate for political office, 1961), HELEN HARDER (flight instructor in the Women’s Army Corps-WAC), FRANK KAMENY (father of the modern gay rights movement), BILL HORNE (Navy radioman; Pacific Theatre), SARAH DAVIS (Naval Aviation Machinist Mate), VINCENT MILES (US Army; all-black 92nd Infantry Division), ELMER LOKKINS (US Army), BURT GERRITS (worked at a Navy psych ward on Treasure Island where identified gay sailors were sent), ARCH WILSON (US Army), actor ROCK HUDSON, ROBERT FLEISCHER (helped liberate Dachau concentration camp), comedienne PAT BOND (WAC), PAUL HARDMAN (cofounder in 1985 of the first gay American Legion Post, “Alexander Hamilton”), ROBERT RICKS (Air Force B-24 bomber navigator; survived Dachau as a prisoner of war), JACK STROUSS (US Army Signal Corps), JACQUELINE BEYER (helped crack Japanese military code), author GORE VIDAL.
Clever and timely...
"IF YOU ARE ABLE, save for them a place inside of you" on this Veterans Day. Late CAPT. Mike Rankin, US Navy (Ret), one of the heroes in the long battle to end ...the military ban on gays, reading the poem in 2009 that he always read each of the several years he organized the Veterans Day observance at the gravesite of Leonard Matlovich in Congressional Cemetery.
DC LGBT VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE. Noon - Saturday - November 11, 2017. Leonard Matlovich Gravesite. Historic Congressional Cemetery. 1801 E Street SE Washington.... Sponsored by the DC Center for the LGBT Community, et al. There is limited street parking, but it's within walking distance of Potomac Avenue Metro Station on the Orange and Blue Metro Lines. Exiting the station, turn left onto Potomac Avenue, and walk to E Street (about 5 minutes). At E, take a slight right and enter the main cemetery entrance. Walk to the chapel directly ahead, then turn left onto Ingle Street, and walk to the intersection of Ingle and Henderson. Leonard's grave is immediately to the left under a tree. Link to Metro's site for departure times toward Potomac Avenue Station, etc. http://www.wmata.com/