Editorâ€™s note: This article was submitted anonymously by a Team March member.
Last year on September 20, a monumental event occurred that affected a large portion of the United States Armed Forces, the repeal of the â€œDonâ€™t Ask Donâ€™t Tellâ€ program.
According to our Commander in Chief, this program officially ended, allowing gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to serve their country openly without having to hide their sexual orientation. I, among many military members stationed at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., have witnessed the effects from the repeal. It has been both positive and negative.
On the surface, everything appeared to be business as usual, where the majority of the March ARB workforce continued to work cohesively to complete the mission.
We, as service members, regardless of gender, religion or sexual preference, have and continue to serve our country while standing firm to our Air Force core values.
Today, within our community, I still see and hear the grumblings of homophobia among service members, which is both crude and cruel. This is a reminder of where we as a military used to be. When degrading, hateful words are used to describe homosexual lifestyles, the message sent to gay service members is, â€œDo not reveal who you are, keep your identity a secret! Stay in the closet!â€
Derogatory terms used to describe homosexual behavior are unacceptable in a professional environment. It is important to remember these words parallel the racist languages that have been used to describe our cultural differences for many years. There are words that are frequently used to describe a negative action of another, but what do those words really mean and resonate in the mind of gay services members?
Our great nation is a melting pot of race, creed, religion and sexuality and our military forces are a microcosm of our nation.
Donâ€™t Ask Donâ€™t Tell is no longer a threat to those serving in the Armed Forces. I believe it is important that we learn to work in a tolerant environment and learn to embrace all of our societal differences.
Now, the doorway for equality is open for homosexuals in the military. As time progresses, I believe tolerances will increase and discriminate behavior will eventually be outdated. As a service member, I live to see the day when my children and partner can receive my military benefits as dependents, because they have the same rights as the dependents of heterosexual service members. I live to see the day when I can be comfortable enough to have a family picture of my children and partner sitting on my desk, or to walk down a hall and not hear â€thatâ€™s so gayâ€ to describe a negative action of a person. Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that finally came to fruition.
I, as a gay service member, have a dream that gays and lesbians will soon also have equality!