2012 is the first year in which openly lesbian and gay cadets are graduating from military academies across America, since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) last September.
At the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Air Force Academy spokesman John Van Winkle told ABC News:
Basically, it was just another day when DADT was repealed. No big changes, no real growing pains. Most of American society has become much more accepting of the LGBT community over the years since President Clinton made the forward-thinking choice in the early í90s to go from a strict no-gay policy to DADT.
Newly commissioned Air Force 2nd Lt. Dan Dwyer, who graduated from the Air Force Academy on Wednesday, told Associated Press:
For the most part, it allows us to be a complete person, as opposed to compartmentalizing our lives into different types of boxes.
Watch ABC’s report:
At the United States Naval Academy, second-year midshipman Caitlyn Bryant tells the Baltimore Sun:
Now that it’s [DADT] gone. I can just focus on what’s really important, like my academics and trying to become an officer and just dealing with daily academy life.
In another sign of how lesbians and gays have been accepted into the military openly, watch the return of Trent from a six month deployment aboard the USS Carl Vinson to his “BFF” Lee in San Diego.
However, it’s not all good.
Freedom to Marry and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network have launched a campaign called “Freedom to Serve, Freedom to Marry” to highlight how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) harms gay and lesbian military families. It includes the horrific story of a lesbian soldier’s relationship, and how her wife was the last to know of her war-torn fate.
House Republicans have been citing DOMA to undermine the rights of gay service people in relationships.
Notes Melanie Nathan:
While all Americans have a right to serve openly in the military, without regard to sexual orientation, thanks to the repeal of the ĎDonít ask donít tellí law, LGBT servicemembers still suffer rampant discrimination with regard to marriage equality, green card sponsorship of binational partners or spouses and a host of other missing benefits caused by lack of equality under the civil law of the U.S.A.
She posted a video for Memorial Day of Jeff Wilfahrt, the father of fallen gay soldier Corp. Andrew Wilfahrt. Jeff is running for the Minnesota Assembly. His wife Lori speaks around the U.S.A., honoring her sonís memory.
Watch Jeff and Lori Wilfahrt:
Panetta: DADT Repeal No Big Deal