Repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ as a National Priority

Don't Ask Don't Tell silences voicesYes, I said it. A national priority. For far too long we have had to sit back, waiting around for the president to get the courage to act righteously, while his administration works to acquiesce the LGBT community with tokenist attempts to include a “gay” agenda. Since 1993, when Clinton’s good intention manifested itself into a destructive policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ roughly 13,500 U.S. citizens serving in the armed forces have been discharged. Professional, courageous, committed, intelligent, service members with merit and passion are being turned away because of who they choose to love and who they choose to sleep with. Nearly $363 million dollars have been waisted within the span of 16 years, to enforce a policy that tells people they are less then human if they are gay, lesbian, trans, or bisexual.

According to a 2008 Washington Post-ABC news poll, 75 percent of Americans believe openly gay people should be allowed to serve. Right now there are roughly 65,000 homosexuals serving in the U.S. military, along with one million gay veterans. This is not a debate about a couple LGBT identified soldiers wanting access to the armed forces, and even if it were, it doesn’t change the truth about how net-detrimental DADT is to every person in our country.

This also isn’t about propping up the military. As a feminist, it’s difficult for me to compromise around discussions of military readiness. I’m staunchly anti-military; I don’t think that we should be in the business of policing the world through brute force. The military industrial complex is problematic for a lot of reasons that would take days to begin listing. The point I want to make, however, is that this doesn’t change my position on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Part of how we maintain a military complex rooted in hegemonic masculinity is by institutionally prioritizing compulsive heterosexuality at the expense of marginalizing non-normative sexualities. In my honest opinion, if anything, repealing DADT is a step towards dismantling a military industrial complex that maintains sexist, and homophobic behavior.

Institutionalizing the discrimination of an entire group of people is what lays the groundwork for genocidal behavior. In order to justify the extermination of entire groups of people, you must first value their life as less then yours, which is exactly what DADT accomplishes. Repealing DADT must be a priority in our universal fight for equal rights in this country. Standing back and silently waiting is no longer an option. Barack Obama has proven to us, time and time again, that he will not act without unyielding pressure to do so. Thousands of gay and lesbian soldiers are in the process of sharing their stories through anonymous narratives. They are putting themselves on the line for a cause that will literally determine the future of their lives as service members and citizens of the United States. It’s time for us to do our part as well.

We all have a myriad of different reasons for supporting a repeal. However, the one thing that we all have in common is an unconditional commitment to equality and justice. We care about the future of our country, whether in terms of military cohesion, or for the purpose of upholding human rights. Citizens For the Repeal of DADT, a non profit organization committed to ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ has officially launched their website. I strongly urge you to check it out. The organizations statement of purpose explains their intentions,

Citizens for the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell seeks an end to the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy”.

The methods of the CFR-DADT are simple. We will utilize narratives from GLBT service members who are active, have been discharged, or are retired to inform the public about the horrible atrocities inflicted upon GLBT service members. We will offer comprehensive policy proposals that show the negative effects of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on the military. We believe that this two-pronged approach of both narratives and policy proposals can best create the change we all believe in.

We are in the process of becoming an official non-profit organization, with 501c4 status. This will give us the ability to fundraise and lobby the Congress on specific legislation.

With your help, we can end 233 years of discrimination against GLBT service members!

As any organization needs funding in order to push through effective grassroots efforts, Citizens for the Repeal of DADT, are asking for donations from individuals committed to the repeal of DADT. Future fundraising efforts are already in the works for several different locations in the United States, however, in order to hit the ground running, they need the support of every day Americans committed to the cause of repealing such a destructive policy. It’s easy to sit back and become a passive consumer of privilege. Many of us are not any where close to being intimately affected by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ however, thousands of our fellow brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and friends are facing humiliating, degrading, and dehumanizing fates because of a policy that values the lives of LGBT citizens as second-class and less then worthy of the same opportunities offered to their heterosexual colleagues. Do your part, get involved.

If you happen to be a former or current service member in the U.S. armed forces, and want to tell your story, please email The protection of your identity is of utmost importance to the founders of CFR-DADT, and for that reason all stories will be presented anonymously, unless instructed otherwise.

About aj:
Andrew (AJ) is a vehement progressive, youth activist, and reproductive justice organizer. When he's not busy with the movement, you can usually find him dancing in the club or watching trashy reality tv.


  1. freewomyn says:

    AJ, so are so passionate about this issue. I obviously think that anyone who wants to join the military should be able to do so. I just don’t know why we’re fighting so hard to get into the military. Why not work towards the elimination of militarism and violence? Maybe if there was a draft this wouldn’t be an issue. Mandatory military service for every single person in the US would bring a quick end to the war – you betcha.

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