To pass the time before I begin my new job next week, I’ve been spending my days on an Air Force Base working at my mom’s museum (yes, my mother also works at a museum. She and I are job twins. I would say she’s my brother from another mother, but she’s my mother so I’ll just say that).
I’ve only been there a few days, but it’s been an adventure. So far I’ve:
- Bottle fed a kitten
- Been slightly involved in a “nuclear incident”*
- Explored a 19th century cavalry stable
- Taught two security policemen about Mick Jagger
- Accidentally ate candy intended for a ghost
But I think today was the best day yet. Today “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed and, for the first time in US military history, I drove onto a base where it is against the law to use a service man or woman’s sexual orientation in retaliation against them.
Raised in the military by queer-positive parents, I never agreed with the guidelines of DADT, rules that forced good, honorable and dedicated members of the military to live in secrecy and fear. While DADT openly banned homosexuality for the past 18 years, the policy against gays and lesbians in the military is much older than 1993 and has been a source of pain, shame, blackmail, harassment and dishonorable discharge at best, and violence and murder at worst.
And today, at least on paper, that ends. In the official memo released by the US Army, it was stated that, “From this day forward, gay and lesbian Soldiers may serve in our Army with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
There’s been little fanfare inside the military for today – the law has changed and people are going about their lives as usual. But now, some people don’t have to keep their lives hidden. As I drove down the base’s main street, Queen’s “We Are The Champions” began playing on the radio, and I admit I turned up the volume and gave a fist pump.