Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Goodbye Don't Ask, Don't Tell!

The day has finally come.  It's official.  The days of Don't Ask, Don't Tell are officially behind us.  Today, September 20, marks the first day of the end of this policy that forced gay men and women in the military to stay closeted.   This policy ended the careers of many soldiers that were discovered to be gay.  This policy forced many men and women that wanted to serve their country not to enlist because they couldn't endure the homophobic environment.  And now on this most beautiful of days we wave goodbye to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. 

One of the most powerful quotes I've ever read was on the grave of a former officer that was kicked out of the military after he was outed.  It read, "The military gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one."  This sums up perfectly how most rational thinking people feel about the exclusion of gays from the military. 

I'm excited about this new era.  I'm pleased to see this day has come to pass.  And I'm elated for all of the same-gender loving men and women that are currently serving in the military.  They no longer have to fear that they will be discharged if it is discovered that they love someone of the same sex.

My first partner was a military man.  I have to admit this, it was his uniform that attracted me to him.  I was a senior history major at Troy University and this man would come to class every day in his Army fatigues.  I won't lie to you - I thought he was extremely hot.  I would have never imagined that he could possibly be gay.  I mean - he was a soldier.  I guess it goes without saying that I was very naive in college.  We would become study buddies and eventually would become lovers.  He was my first love.  He was my partner for almost two years and in college years this is a very long time.

Yes, my first love was a sargeant in the Army.  This sargeant shared with me his desire to be out.  He yearned so much to be able to hold my hand and walk across campus with me.  He wanted very badly to put a picture of me on his desk at work.  But he knew there would be serious consequences of making such a move.  Coming out would have yielded the end of his military career, the loss of his home and the end of his pursuit of his bachelors degree.  He would have lost everything he cared about and worked so hard for.

I wish my sargeant would have been able to come out.  He eventually did.  He would in time leave the military just for his own mental sanity.  He could not remain in an culture that did not allow him the freedom of expression to love whom he pleased.   I was thrilled that he decided to follow his heart and made this decision that allowed him to be his authentic self. 

So as we celebrate this day of freedom I think about my first love and how different his life would have been if he were able to be out in the military.  I think about all those talented military men that put their lives on the line for their country but were discharged just because they loved someone of the same gender.  I think about all that gay men and women that still served but lived in fear that one day their "secret" would be revealed. 

I personally want to thank all gay men and women that have served past and present for their contributions to our country.  Whether you were discharged because you were outed or whether you successfully served without being disclosed, I appreciate everything you've done in paving the way for this day to happen.

Only time will tell what happens next but I'm eagerly looking forward to what tomorrow brings!

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