Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"This is Done!"



President Obama signed a law this morning that repeals the odious "Don't Ask Don't Tell." The "Don't Ask Don't Tell" law that was passed seventeen years ago made legal discrimination against a class of United States citizens.  That law is no longer legal.  


Hallelujah! 

As a former gay soldier (U.S. Army 1960-1963) who had to lie about his sexual orientation, this is the first day in my life that I feel like a full fledged citizen of this country.  I, along with thousands of other gay and lesbians who have served in the armed forces have been made to feel less than equal to our fellow citizens since the founding of this country.  I feel so fortunate that I have lived long enough to see this terrible abridgment of my civil right come to an end.  

I came "out"when I left the Army in January of 1963.  I've lived as an openly gay man since then.  At times it has not been an easy path living my life openly gay.  For most of my career me being gay just wasn't an issue with my bosses.  The issue was whether or not I could do my job.  And that is what should be the only criteria of anyone whether they be in the service of this country in the military or private business.  I did lose two jobs because I had homophobic bosses but that was a small price for me to pay compared to many of my gay brothers and sisters.  

Right now I am feeling so elated.  Even though I'm not in the service (at 69 I'm just at "tad" too old to rejoin the Army), I am glad for those young gay men and woman who now can service their country without fear of being discriminated against based soley on their sexual orientation.  

I've only participated in two gay rights marches. The first one was the First one on October 14, 1979 in Washington D.C.  I was so nervous participating in that first national gay rights march that I didn't even take my camera.  I was pretty sure I would end up in jail for participating in that march.  

1979 Gay Rights March Washington, D.C







Look closely, I'm in there somewhere, hiding form the police


My next gays rights march was in October 11th, 2009.  I was ready this time with my camera!  This march was a lot different, I wasn't afraid of being arrested.  As a matter of fact, all us queers marching in Washington D.C. on that sunny October day was just another "event."  That's how far we have come as a country in acknowledging that gay men and women are just like anyone else except who we chose to be intimate with. 
2009 Gay Rights March Washington D.C.,







Yes, that is me in the foreground with the Goofy hat and the beads.  An old gay Army veteran in front of the White House still demonstrating for equal rights for ALL AMERICANS









Today is a historic day.  

I will always remember where I was when I saw President Obama sign into law the bill repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Next up, repeal of the DOMA law.  Bill and I want to get married.  He's 82 and I'm 69.  We've been together 46 years.  He's ready, I'm ready.  And I think the country is ready.  I just hope we both live long enough to make this last wrong into a right.




4 comments:

  1. It is splendid news, indeed.
    I know it takes a long time to change a culture, so I know the road is just begun on this one.

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  2. Just about the best news I've ever had in my lifetime Spo. Now to make same sex marriage a federal law. Hopefully that will happen before I go to the Great Beyond.

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  3. Ron, do you know what? There is a distinct possibility that I saw you at the march, and maybe even met you that day.

    Mark from Tales of the Sissy helped organize a charter bus from Rehoboth to DC, right? Were you on that bus? When Greg and I got to DC (driving in from Ohio) we met up with Mark and his hubby and the rest of the Rehoboth folks at McPherson Square and marched with them.

    I just reviewed my pics from the day and I don't see you in them. Were you with the Rehoboth gang?

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  4. Cubby,
    Yes, I was with the "Rehoboth Gang." I would be hard to miss. I was the tallest one there. I have a picture on my other computer of me behind the Rehoboth Camp banner. Send me your e-mail address and I can send it to you. I may have met you that day but I don't remember. The only person I can remember meeting (and shaking his hand) was Dan Choi. I regret that I didn't think to have our picture taken together. Me with the camera always and I was so overwhelmed at seeing Dan I didn't even think of asking Bob Chambers (who I traveled with to D.C.) to take my picture. Review your pictures again, I have the Goofy hat and beads around my neck. I'm sure I'm in at least some of your pictures. You may be in some of mine too. I took about 250 pictures.

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