For gay servicemembers, yesterday’s news met with ‘a mixture of rapture and disbelief’

We’ve met many of the servicemembers who have been discharged under DADT. We don’t know the men and women who are serving in silence. Yesterday’s vote was about them:

The gay Army lieutenant’s heart had been racing all night.

Shuffling between meetings at his outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday night, the 27-year-old officer kept popping his head into the main office to catch a glimpse of Fox News’s coverage of the Senate debate that led to a vote lifting the ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the military openly.

“Don’t cry,” a 21-year-old specialist, one of the lieutenant’s confidants, told his boss jokingly when news broke that 65 senators had voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“I’m completely numb,” was all the lieutenant could mutter.

Across the world, other gay troops whose lives, careers and relationships have been indelibly, if sometimes quietly, shaped by the ban reacted to the news with a mixture of rapture and disbelief.

Many had seethed for weeks as the political debate over the repeal became laden with sexual innuendo and suggestions that openly gay soldiers on the front lines might become life-threatening distractions.

They’re on the front lines, putting their lives on the front lines for the rest of us. Yesterday was about them.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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