I have always been a pacifist by nature. I don’t believe in fighting hatred with hatred, I don’t believe in guns, or war. I do, however, believe that we have a military, young men and women who risk their lives to defend our country, my country, and that we as citizens should be thankful, and respectful of what they do. All of them. No matter who they are. Even if they happen to be gay.
It has always seemed rather sad to me, that we ask people to risk their lives to fight for our freedom, while denying them the most basic of freedoms, the freedom to be who they are. I never understood how the leaders of our country failed to see the hypocrisy in that. Yesterday, Colin Powell actually agreed with me.
“Attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Powell said. “It’s been a whole generation” since the legislation was adopted, and there is increased “acceptance of gays and lesbians in society,” he said. “Society is always reflected in the military. It’s where we get our soldiers from.”
I have known people who have been discharged from the military for being lesbians. Personally, I really don’t understand why a gay person would choose to serve in a military that clearly doesn’t want them to be there. That is the beauty of choice, and I respect their choice to serve. I don’t respect the fact that, since the inception of DADT 17 years ago, 13,500 men and women have been discharged. 13,500 careers ruined, livelihoods lost, because of sexual orientation. That, in my eyes, is not acceptable.
I am fully aware that once DADT is repealed, all hell is going to break loose. Sadly, even in 2010, homophobia can be deadly. I fear for the safety of the brave men and women who will proudly announce to the world who they are. Words cannot express my pride in them all. I am hopeful, that with the repeal we will pave the way for the next step, when, at long last, all men and women have the right to marry the person that they love, and live with dignity and respect. Because it’s right. Because it’s time.