Monday, August 3, 2009

Asking and Telling in Charlotte

While I know many people that are fans of the Clintons, I don't know any that actually like the Don't Ask, Don't Tell "compromise" that former President Bill Clinton arrived at when he tried to allow gay folks to serve openly in the military.

I say "compromise" in quotes because the only thing this policy compromises is the integrity of loyal gay servicepeople. This policy is simply horrible.

It basically codifies the idea that gay people can serve as long as they don't flaunt it. As long as they lie. As long as they pretend to be heterosexual, because that's normal.

Though many of us are hopeful that President Obama will do something about this awful, failed policy, folks in Charlotte will be able to hear first-hand how it's negatively affecting LGBT folks in the military.

The Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United will be bringing the 2009 "Voices of Honor" Tour to Charlotte this week. The national tour highlights the continuing use of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to fire fit, competent, and highly skilled Americans from the U.S. military solely because of their sexual orientation.

The event will be at 6:00 pm at the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in the Main Library, Francis Auditorium (310 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202). This will be a town hall forum on "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell."

"Voices of Honor" features a diverse group of gay, lesbian, and straight veterans who have served under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, including:
  • Jarrod Chlapowski, a former U.S. Army Korean linguist who opted to not re‐enlist because of DADT and is now a Policy Advocate for the Human Rights Campaign
  • Alex Nicholson, a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector discharged under DADT and the current Executive Director of Servicemembers United
  • Julianne Sohn, a former Marine Corps officer and Iraq War veteran who was discharged under DADT
  • Michael Noftzger, a former U.S. Army Psychological Operations specialist and a local Charlotte‐area resident
It's well past time we ditched this bit of discrimination. It hurts a lot of people, and it reflects poorly on America and our commitment to equality.


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