For some people in the military, hanging up a picture of their loved one may seem like a simple task. However, senior social work major and president of TCU’s Gay Straight Alliance Jamal King said his gay and lesbian friends in the military could not do so due to the fear of being discharged.
After nearly two decades of debates and frustrations, The “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed on Sept. 20,.
According to The New York Times, the policy allowed for gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual individuals to serve in the military; however, they had to keep their sexual orientation to themselves.
Thousands of gay men and lesbians were discharged from the military once their sexual orientation was revealed.
Some people justified their claims that sexuality had no place in the military by professing to only be concerned for the safety of our service men and women, he said.
“Whether or not these claims are sincere, it is still a homophobic and punitive policy that only serves to further divide us when, if nothing else, our government and our military should convey a message of unification and standing strong together,” he said.
Junior political science and strategic communication double major Michael Dabbs said that when the policy was enacted, it was not an acceptable compromise. He added that eventually the policy became outdated and did not reflect the direction of our country.
“The United States finally recognized its discrimination against members of the LGBT community wanting to serve their country and put an end to it,” Dabbs said. “This weight of injustice had been lifted from our society.”
Junior computer science major and Air Force ROTC student Chris Witter said the military has always been on the forefront of civil rights issues.
“Personally, I think [the policy] needs to go, but I’m not sure if now is the right time,” Witter said.
Junior operations business management major and Air Force ROTC student H.D. Woodruff, a University of Texas at Arlington student, said he does not favor either side of the repeal. He said people who want to serve are still going to serve.
“There are some people who want to openly serve and there are some people who want to keep it quiet, either to the rejection of their peers or subordinates or people above them,” he said.
Several Army ROTC cadets declined to comment, and Army ROTC faculty and staff did not return phone calls by the time of publication.
Although she supports gay rights, freshman studio art major, Sarah Morris said she could see both sides of the policy. She said they should not have to hide their orientation, but, for their safety, they should be cautious.
Morris said at times she goes back and forth with the issue because of hate crimes that have occurred due to service men and women’s sexual orientation being brought to light.
“I feel like it’s just part of the times now, to kind of go with the flow and to be able to revolutionize yourself as the times change,” Morris said. “[There is] a need for the military to accept it and it’s one of the main things they should have to come to terms with as the world changes, that they should also update their standards as well.”