I was surprised to see an absence of opinion articles in The Michigan Daily on Sept. 21 concerning the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” With Ann Arbor’s healthy liberal slant and robust LGBT community, I anticipated more interest.
The repeal of DADT is a great step forward for our country. It’s not a leap, jump or anything other than one single step. Many of our LGBT military members are still being denied basic rights and privileges afforded to heterosexual couples. The next step is working toward changing the Defense of Marriage Act. Currently DOMA, is a large roadblock keeping LGBT military members from enjoying the same rights as all other couples. Regardless, I’ll take this victory, but it’s just a battle won — the war still remains.
I spent five years on active duty in the Marine Corps as a gay man. I was lucky, I never felt the need to come out, nor did I feel like I was hiding something. For me, my sexual orientation is something personal. After all, I don’t meet someone for the first time and say, “Hi, I’m Neil, and I’m gay.” My sexual orientation is just one part of the whole me. I am in the Marine Corps Reserves now, and I work for the Marine Corps as a civilian. I doubt I’ll come out professionally. It’s just not something I feel a need to do, but for those who do, I’m excited for them.
I’m excited for our country. Equality is something I believe in very strongly. Simple words with heavy meaning: Live and let live; to each his/her own. I try to live by those words and hope more of America will learn to do the same.