Progress Continues on 10th Anniversary of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

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09/22/2021

Ten years ago this week, the odious policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) came to an end. The law prevented gay people from serving in the military. People who went public with their sexuality were kicked out, no matter how distinguished their service. Enacted in the 1990s, DADT was created to stop witch hunts of “suspected” homosexuals, meaning if you stayed in the closet and kept quiet you’d be left alone. American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), America’s oldest LGBT veterans service organization, hailed the anniversary of repeal. “AVER celebrates this important civil rights milestone, and we honor the long and determined grassroots effort by service members and veterans, men and women, to overturn the nearly 100-year-old policies that denied the freedom to serve to LGBT soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen and coastguardsmen. We acknowledge the diverse efforts, strategies, struggles and sacrifices by many individuals and organizations that led to the repeal of the discriminatory DADT law.” Fourteen thousand people were dismissed under DADT and an estimated 100,000 service people “under suspicion” were removed since World War II. The repeal anniversary is being used to help right those wrongs. The Department of Defense announced they will review files of veterans who received “other-than-honorable” discharges, and people who were kicked out for their sexuality will be able to get full Veterans Affairs benefits.

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