(Cover Photo Credit Goes To Lisa Gillespie)
Today on the other side of the world, gay rights activists Lieutanant Dan Choi, Captain Jim Pietrangelo and Californian gay activist Robin McGehee marched to the White House, home of the U.S President, leading a little over hundred other protestors. The crowd after they listened to a short speech watched Lieutanant Dan Choi and Jim Pietrangelo handcuff themselves to a fence of the White House. After a short while, police came hurriedly and attempted to persuade them to release themselves. After refusing to, the two were forcefully removed from the fence and arrested leaving in the midst of applause from onlookers. Lieutanant Dan Choi has a pending discharge from the military after he admitted he was gay on U.S television under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Jim Pietrangelo has been discharged along with nearly 14,000 other gays since the DATD policy was enacted.
This protest marked the gay community’s frustration at President Obama’s slow actions to repeal the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Rightfully so, gay activists in Washington D.C feel that the policy that should’ve been removed long ago and plan to set up more protests and commit acts of civil disobedience to pressure and provoke the government into action regarding the DADT policy.
The DADT policy is both a human rights violation and a discriminatory policy of gays serving in the military. This policy through a modern history of dishonorable discharges of gays serving in the U.S military throughout World War II and the Vietnam War arose leading to former President Clinton to make a “compromise” which was consequently the Don’t ask, Don’t Tell policy. This policy supresses gays by restricting them to admit their sexual orientation, and if they do admit they’re gay then they’re more than likely to be discharged from military service. The policy also allows military administrators to investigate a service member’s sexual orientation if there is a “credible” chance of him/her being gay. Discrimination against gays in the military reached one of its peaks when Allen R. Schindlr Jr. was fatally assaulted by fellow service members for being gay in 1992.
It is no question that there is anti-gay sentiments among American service members, and the DADT policy makes it worse. In contrast to European countries, gay are actually allowed to openly serve in the military and there are less laws restricting gays over here. It is puzzling why the two were arrested as they are Iraq war veterans and humans. Whatever happened to Americans being all equal in the land of the brave and free? Official research in the past showed that gays serving in the military along with “straight” service members posed no actual problems to the effectiveness of a soldier’s combat.