Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why DADT Matters (The Other Side of the Coin)

Imagine for just a moment that your wife or husband is serving in the Army and has been deployed to Afghanistan. Think of the loneliness you feel each night and the fear that your spouse may not come home. Think of the support network that you would have with other spouses of deployed service members whom you can share your fears and hopes with. Now imagine getting the news that your husband or wife was killed in action. Again, remember the network of other spouses that you have made friends with who will be there to help you grieve.

Now imagine that your spouse or partner is the same sex as you. Who do you turn to without getting your spouse or partner drummed out of the service? Who comes to tell you if they are killed in action? If you are like many LGBT men and women with deployed partners, possibly no one.

Much of the debate being aired in Washington and elsewhere about the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy of the US Military focuses on the service members themselves. But what about the families they leave behind? On top of the usual baggage that comes with being in a same sex relationship, they also have to deal with the loneliness and fear of the military finding out about them.

This is why the repeal of DADT is so important. It's not just for our LGBT servicemen and women who are bravely fighting for freedoms that they themselves will not be able to share. It's also for the brave partners and spouses of these brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen that are left behind.