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Posts tagged ‘Change.org’

Who DADT is Really Hurting: A Signal Boost

a piece of barbed wire against a blurry green background, with small, thin strands of fine spider webbing holding on to the prongs.Every weekday leading up to the launch of the Defense Authorization Bill the Servicmembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is running a new media campaign called “Letters from the Frontlines: Letters to President Obama“, which is a collection of open letters from actual servicemembers and their family membes who are affected by the horrendously awful DADT policy. Gay Rights Blogger Michael A. Jones from Change.org is running them, and I would like to share a recent collection of them, some of which I have shared at my Tumblr.

Also, the Senate Armed Services Committee happens to be chaired by my Rock the Casbah senator, Karl Levin. You can find the info for that committee here, if you are so inclined.

Discharged Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” … Twice

I was ousted from the service I loved, facing a recoupment of $13,000 sign-on bonus I received, and ushered to the gate. I felt shunned, broken and confused.

After a year of recovery, I received a letter recalling me back to service. While I didn’t understand why, I had an overwhelming sense of joy to return to the service I so loved.

I was sent to Kuwait for a year with the U.S. Navy Customs Battalion Romeo in 2006 where I continued to garner accolades for my service and even upped in rank, all while serving completely open. My immediate commanders and colleges were aware that I had been discharged once under DADT and knew that I was gay, yet they supported me because I was a great sailor.

The Humiliation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) on base, acting without authority, continued her own investigation and convinced the ranking Admiral that regulations mandated that he move to administratively separate me with an “Other Than Honorable” discharge; a move that would result in the loss of my 20+ year retirement.

Acting without the proper authority, she even went over the Admiral’s head and appealed to the Navy’s personnel office, telling them I was taking “sexual liberties” with patients, which she knew was not true.

I wanted to serve my country. Now, I was fighting to not be humiliated by it. At the SJA’s encouragement, the command initiated discharge proceedings. I knew I’d be discharged but my retirement and my livelihood was also on the line.

Gay Troops are Fit For Military Duty

But everything changed a few months later. A cadet went to my commanders and told them I was gay and dating a fellow cadet. During the investigation that followed I made no comment to the JAG officer conducting the investigation. I was eventually called into my commander’s office and disenrolled from ROTC in August 2002. I received a piece of paper saying I was no longer fit for military duty due to “homosexual conduct.” You can’t even imagine how that feels. Almost 8 years later, I still remember wearing my flight suit for the last time and handing my ID card to the NCO who was trying not to cry.

A Letter From a Gay Soldier in a War Zone

Mr. President, my unit is extremely undermanned. We’re working around the clock in Baghdad. My commander informed me that the Army cannot afford to lose me. I was told that they would prepare my discharge paperwork, “stick it in a Manila envelope, and keep it in a desk — for now.”

One moment they wanted to throw me out and the next they are hiding evidence to keep me in.

My comrades now know that I am gay, and they do not treat me any differently. Work runs as smoothly as ever, and frankly the only difference I see — besides my pending job loss — is that I am free of the burden of having to constantly watch my words and ensure my lies are believable.

Losing Some of Our Best Soldiers to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Eventually, the stress of constant fear that I could lose my job no matter how hard I worked or how well I performed, became too much. I knew from the stories of others that even serving to the very best of my ability could cost me my job. I knew that an anonymous tip — by someone who was jealous of my success, angry with me because of a disagreement, or mad because I rebuffed a sexual advance — could trigger a demoralizing, demeaning investigation under DADT. And if I was not willing to lie, I knew an investigation could lead to my discharge.

I was lucky, though. I did not get kicked out, but that does not mean that DADT didn’t affect me. The uncertainty and fear of knowing that anyone with a grudge could end my career, and the sadness in realizing that at any time my country could callously discard me for no other reason than the fact that I was gay, pressured me to give up the career I loved. I chose not to reenlist.

A Mother’s Dream For Her Gay Son in the Military

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” throws more than just service people into the closet; it throws moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, godparents, friends and loved ones in there as well.

As a mom, my heart breaks for all the gay and lesbian “kids” in the military, and for all the special people in their lives who live with us in the closet.

I dream of actually being able to write to the President, my senators and representatives in the Congress, and actually signing my name, something I can’t do now due to the risk of outing my son.

Serving in Iraq an an Openly Gay Soldier (trigger warning for ableist language)

After an investigation into my statements and the harassment, I was told I was an exceptional Soldier and to “drive on” with my work. It was a great a relief to break the silence. My colleagues suddenly understood why I had always been so detached and began asking me to join them in activities outside of work.

Later that year my division deployed again and I served the entirety of the deployment as an openly gay Soldier. I no longer had to lie if someone asked if I were married or had a girlfriend, I didn’t have to write my emails in “code.” I no longer feared being “outed.” I finally was able to be honest.

A Lesbian ROTC Cadet, Denied the Chance to Serve

As much as I longed to be an officer, I realized I was not willing to compromise my integrity to do so.

Mr. President, I tell you this not looking for sympathy but rather to plead with you to do everything possible to end this arcane, discriminatory law. It hurts our military every day to force our men and women in uniform to lie or else face discharge.

You gave me hope that I might be able to serve honestly and openly in your State of the Union Address. If you repeal this law today, I’ll sign up to serve my country tomorrow.

Photo: jonycunha


Here and There…

john cleese
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Some Shameless Self-Promotion:

My final post is up at Bitch blogs:

Transcontinental Disability Choir: Disability in Comics — A Discussion

Comics have also done a bit to normalize disabilities in the eyes of their readers. Kids growing up with a disability might be able to find their favorite superhero rocking out with a disability of their own. So, here (and with a huge tip of the hat to my bigger nerd than I partner for letting me pick his brain), is a list of major players with disabilities who were portrayed as more than props or pathetic tropes meant to teach the able-bodied A Very Special Lesson.


Subtitles in Assassin’s Creed II and Ubisoft’s Pledge (It sure looks like I am flexing some kind of nerd cred or something…)

When Assassin’s Creed II came out I read in The Guys Game Informer that they made a lot of changes based on what fans wrote to Ubisoft asking for. Before I was willing to get this for The Guy for X-mas this year, I needed to see two things: 1) That the playable character could not drown in a two fucking inches of water, and 2) subtitles. Well what do you know, this iteration’s assassin can fucking swim, and Assassin’s Creed II includes subtitles for all of the game play.

Veterans Find Self Expression and Therapy

The more ways we find to help our returning troops the better. If they aren’t thriving in the traditional therapy programs (and I can understand why), or if they aren’t being given proper therapy in addition to their drug treatments (I can relate), then we need to find therapy programs that do help them. We owe it to them.

At Change.org’s Women’s Rights Blog:

My Top 5 Hopes For the Military in 2010

I have hopes that the military and the Armed Forces Committee will get their collective acts together and do some basic things in the name of equality and human dignity in 2010.

Courts-Martial for Pregnancy: Good Intention, Bad Implementation

The loss of troops from vital places is an important point to ponder — but a policy that targets women, whether intended to do so or not, isn’t the way to get the mission accomplished.

Outdated FMLA and Workplace Laws Hurt Families, Workers, and the Public

The existing laws for workplace norms and leave were made over 50 years ago, when your typical family and worker looked a little more like The Donna Reed Show, while today’s families might look more like early seasons of the Gilmore Girls (with less TV magic). The Family Medical Leave Act offers unpaid leave to women after giving birth and to other workers after things like surgery, but that does little good to workers who can’t afford to miss a paycheck.

Just the Facts on Abortion, Please

I have scant patience for anti-choicers who stretch or misconstrue the truth, misrepresent facts, mislead the public (especially teenagers), or otherwise lie about pro-choice policies or what it is that feminists are fighting for when it comes to reproductive justice. I feel the same way when it comes to the pro-choice side — which is why I am particularly irked by glaring errors in reporting military policy on abortions by feminist or women’s rights blogs.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’d better get my butt back to work! In the mean time, what have you been up to?

Here and There…

A grey sriped cat jumps over an orange sofa. Text reads "this cat is not frozen in time, this is a photograph".Shameless Self-Promotion time!

I have a couple of new posts at Change’s Women’s Rights blog:

This Just In: Sex Isn’t Going to Destroy You! :

A study done by the University of Minnesota finds that only a fifth of sexually active youth participate in casual sex, or this rampant “hookup culture” we hear so much about from conservatives and the anti-feminist crowd. (And really, so what?) More importantly, the study found that, of those people, there was no significant decrease in their emotional well being. In other words, they seemed perfectly happy with the joy of a crash and go sexcapade, contradicting abstinence-proponents’ arguments about how sex before marriage or casual sex will destroy us, making us all bitter, unhappy, lonely people. (Think duct tape.)

Well, gosh, color me shocked! Shocked I tell you!

There is a link in that post to make a tax deductible donation to Scarleteen. There is also one here, and at their site. Please consider making one this holiday season!

Target: Breastfeeding Woman is a Threat to Safety:

A security guard told Mary Martinez that she would have to leave because it was illegal to breastfeed in the Target store. Ms. Martinez, and her husband, Jose, knew that this wasn’t the case. In fact, Jose Martinez is a Detroit Police Officer, and they told the security guard that they knew breastfeeding in public wasn’t illegal. The security guard called the police on them.

Veterans Affairs Centers Fall Short of Women’s Needs:

A recent investigation found that one-third of VA centers lack proper facilities for conducting pelvic exams or for the mental health care that women veterans need. I remember having to hunt around for a toilet in an ill-fitting paper gown at my own exit screening, past several other open, occupied exam rooms. I was the only woman there. They had no sanitary napkin to offer me and it was an embarrassing scene trying to find a place where I could insert a tampon. I was fighting back tears when I finally found a (presumably) unisex bathroom.

At Bitch Blogs, I have a piece up:

Transcontinental Disability Choir: The Public Consumption of Britney (there is a little kerfluffle over a snarky remark I make in the post about Fox News. Wev. I hate Fox, they are jerks, and usually the worst offenders of this sort of thing, and snark is what I do.):

As Britney’s life spun out of control we were spared no morsel, from that infamous hospital ride to Dr. Phil’s advice to her and every last bit of her painful emergence back into the world. Everything that was a part of her treatment or recovery that the media could get it’s hands on was plastered on every tabloid on three continents.

That’s what I’ve got. What have you got? What have you been reading or doing?

Photo: Average Cats

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