Why It Gets Better: Mids describe smooth transition from ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

The Baltimore Sun has another report on the lack of impact the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT), the Clinton-ear policy that allowed gay people to serve in the military but prohibited them from ‘telling’ their sexual orientation and prohibited anyone ‘asking’ about a service member’s sexual orientation. The article’s focus is primarily related to the Naval Academy; with interviews from a few midshipmen noting that there have been no negative consequences due to the repeal. Instead, people are now beginning to stick up for their gay colleges and those who are gay are able to focus on their careers and being leaders vs. being careful to hide their orientation:

For [midshipman Caitlin] Bryant, repeal lifted “an unnecessary source of stress.”

“Now that it’s gone,” she said, “I can just focus on what’s really important, like my academics and trying to become an officer and just dealing with daily academy life.”

Cmdr. William Marks, an academy spokesman, says the training helped to ease the transition. But he also credited the attitudes of the young people who make up the Brigade of Midshipmen.

“I would say most folks here are in this generation that is accepting and understanding,” said Marks, a 1996 graduate. “We understand people are born a certain way and you have certain personal and private things in your life, and we’re very much OK with just saying, ‘Go ahead and do what you want to do.'”

One of the best things about the repeal is no unofficial events that were once organized by gay service members are now becoming more official. Such as the dinner that was organized by 2009 graduate Fabian Ortiz:

During the spring semester of his last year, Ortiz organized a private dinner for gay midshipmen and alumni. He used his midshipman loan to rent a room at an Annapolis condominium and cater a gathering for a closely guarded guest list of about two dozen.

The dinner quietly became an annual tradition, organized each spring by graduating midshipmen. But the numbers remained limited by the lack of an organized gay community at the academy and concerns about repercussions that participation might have on careers under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

This year’s gathering, the first since repeal, was the largest yet, with nearly 100 in attendance — including academy faculty and staff and friends.

This is the kind of unit cohesion that is created by the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. The repeal broke down the barriers that kept gay service members from interacting fully with their colleges and broke down the psychological barrier that kept service members from being fully focused on their careers. Both reasons why it gets better.

Read the full article

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