It is hard to believe that this month marks the ten-year anniversary of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). When I first heard that DADT had been repealed, I was sitting in my sophomore English class listening to a lecture on Shakespeare. Over the next few months, I heard many politicians and activists talk about how important this achievement was for queer people. As a closeted gay youth at the time, I felt that the decision was a great victory for the LGBTQ+ community in the US and that we were one step closer to acceptance. However, this feeling did not last. Instead it has been replaced by a pessimistic belief that nothing has really changed.
Since the repeal of DADT, the lives of queer servicemembers have improved, but major challenges remain that threaten to undermine these gains and stall further progress.
Since the repeal of DADT, the lives of queer servicemembers have improved, but major challenges remain that threaten to undermine these gains and stall further progress. The four main issues that the US military needs to focus on that disproportionally impact LGBTQ+ current and former servicemembers are sexual assault, the HIV ban, dishonorable discharges received prior to the repeal of DADT, and the anti-sodomy law. Addressing these four problems could help mitigate threats to queer servicemembers that affect their ability to perform tasks effectively, live healthy lives, and pursue a long-term military career. Furthermore, by taking these steps the US military can improve its image and establish trust with the LGBTQ+ community, which has often been ostracized by military culture. The important question is: Is the US military and Congress willing to take these steps?
Read the full article from Inkstick.
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