I’ve been pretty moved by a lot of the reaction from gay and lesbian servicemembers to yesterday’s vote to end DADT.
Writing at The New Civil Rights Movement, discharged Army Captain Tanya Domi gives credit to those, past and present, who made yesterday’s historic votes possible:
We stand on the shoulders of many who have not lived to see this day: Leonard Matlovich, Karl Cropsey, Copy Berg, Thomas Paniccia, Randy Shilts, Alan Stephens, Tom Stoddard, Gerry Studds, Perry Watkins and so many others. But I am so happy that Frank Kameny was alive to see this repeal come to pass, as Frank began his courageous advocacy on the military’s gay ban in the 1950s–during the age of the Philistines.
I want to acknowledge the ground breaking work of a number of lesbian leaders who played a major role in our history as activists– in advocacy, policy and law, on behalf of lesbians and gays in the military: Urvashi Vaid, Peri Jude Radecic of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Cathy Woolard, Mandy Carter, Nancy Buermeyer of the then-Human Rights Campaign Fund; Professor Nan Hunter, formerly of the ACLU; Bridget Wilson, lawyer advocate for LGBT veterans and a former Army soldier; Kathy Gilberd, counselor of the National Lawyers Guild and Kate Dyer, former legislative assistant to the late Congressman Gerry Studds (D-MA).
But ultimately this vote and ultimate victory, belongs to the veterans and active duty service members who would not relent to the inaccurate political belief that we should not allow gays to openly serve during the course of two ongoing wars. Joined with a new generation of veterans, tested by war, armed with social media tools and the relentless advocacy of 24-7 LGBT bloggers–how this battle was fought and the votes will be won, marks a seismic departure from the strictly “inside the beltway” strategies of establishment Washington.
The veterans community led by Aubrey Sarvis of Service Members Legal Defense Network; Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski of Service Members United; Anu Bhagwaiti and Jen Hogg of the Service Women’s Action Network; along with Robin McGehee of GetEQUAL, a national civil disobedience organization, joined by former Army 1Lt. Dan Choi,who became the national face of the policy’s injustice– changed the dynamics of how the LGBT community would forge a long sought victory.