Air Force

June 6, 2014

Repeal of DADT – what it means to me

Staff Sgt. CHRISTOPHER ODOM
56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron

June is LGBT History Month and is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history.

I’ve been in the Air Force for five years and have been openly gay in the military since the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 2011. I came in the military without the thought of this law ever being repealed during my career. I expected I would serve quietly. I realized if I chose to speak, my career could be short lived. I also knew that if I was in a committed relationship with someone, there was a chance that person would not be able to go with me wherever the Air Force took me.

Before the repeal, I did not let it affect me too strongly and refused to lie about who I was. I found ways to evade conversations or turned to alternate truths.

Many who were openly gay before joining the service rejected hiding the truth and found conservative ways of identifying with other gay people. Although many do not make an outright declaration of being gay, in ways I can’t describe, we just know who each other is.

For some who find it more difficult, social media plays a part in organizing groups where members of the gay military community can converse and bond. We were strengthened by our community as we supported one another in the hopes one day DADT would be repealed.

When it was repealed, the first people I told were my co-workers. I received so much positive feedback. One NCO said to me, “By you being open and comfortable you will encourage so many others.”

Another said, “Having first known you as a co-worker and friend, and now knowing that you are gay has opened my eyes to my ignorance.”

Without meaning to I helped a man who was strongly opposed to my sexuality accept who I was.

The repeal of DADT has helped to expell the stereotype or preconceived notion many military members had toward gay individuals.
There was a time I couldn’t talk about who I was dating. Now, I can speak freely, yet respectfully of my lifestyle.

People ask me if I’m a proud gay man. I answer, “No more than I am of being a proud black man or a proud Airman.” I’m simply Christopher Odom, or Staff Sgt. Odom — no labels. Most who know me know me simply by my name long before they know I am gay. Shouldn’t that always be the case?




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Samuel Price

RMO, stakeholders keep eye on sky

Samuel Price The road used to get onto the Barry M. Goldwater Range lies beneath the running water July 9, 2014, that resulted from monsoon rains. With data from the additional recently installed weather stations, personnel wil...
 
 

Resource management — Doing more with less

Since I joined the Air Force in 1992, our manpower and resources have been gradually reduced with no obvious change to the mission we support. While this has been labeled “doing more with less,” I don’t believe we’re truly doing any more than we did when I entered the military 22 years ago. We seem...
 
 

Situational awareness

Throughout my career, the importance of situational awareness has been driven into my head. This became exceedingly clear to me when I landed in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. It was March 17, 2003, about 48 hours until Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. We were busy building tents, making bunkers and preparing to execute the mission. Doing...
 

 

Air Force OSI agents prevent online exploitation of children

QUANTICO, Va. — Child sex crimes are not unique to any particular base but are a perpetual problem across the Air Force and society. Online exploitation of children continues to be a problem and is routinely investigated by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. As part of this effort, AFOSI field units have partnered...
 
 

News Briefs February 27, 2015

MDG appointment line upgrade Patients calling the 56th Medical Group at 623-856-2273 Wednesday afternoon to schedule an appointment may reach a busy signal and may have to call back if all booking agents are on the line with other callers. The queue function allowing patients to wait on hold for the next available booking agent...
 
 

Airmen get T-bolts to give blood, win award

Tech. Sgt. Alisa Frisch, 56th Medical Group unit training manager, and Capt. Sharlott Uriarte, 56th Medical Support Squadron, were among the top 3 percent of award-winning blood drive coordinators recently honored by United Blood Services, earning a Hero Award for providing the largest impact on the blood supply. Of the 1,080 organizations that sponsored blood...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin