Late last evening, the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the anti-gay "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell" law. This historic vote brings us one step closer to repeal of the discriminatory policy that treats gay and lesbian members of the military as second class citizens.The full US Senate will vote TODAY.
The following Letter to the Editor was prepared collaboratively by the Chairs of the LGBT Shared Interest Group (SIG), Eleni Carr, Member of the Chapter's Task Force on Workplace Standards and Compensation and staff member Meagan Coons. It was sent to the major media outlets this week.
If there was an individual who had a solution to stop the oil spill in the gulf tomorrow, we would hire that person to do the job. Yet there are thousands of qualified people who desire to serve in the United States military and they are not hired. They should be recruited, retained and promoted based on their capabilities, experience, and performance. However, since 1994 more than 13,000 American service members have been discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. At a time when the United States is engaged in two wars, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” makes little sense. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who are U.S. Service members deserve the same treatment as heterosexuals. As members of the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter (NASW-MA) we strongly urge Massachusetts residents to voice their support of this repeal.
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a practice that is an outgrowth of a time where silence was a strategy for managing difficult content. “Secretive” behavior in any organization often has negative consequences. Take for example the egregious cover-up of the Catholic Church during the sex abuse scandal. As a society, especially here in Massachusetts, we have moved beyond gay and lesbian lifestyles "needing" to be secret. We all want a stronger more unified military comprised of competent and committed individuals serving to promote democracy and peace. The removal of the DADT has the potential to attract more than 36,000 men and women to active duty service. (Williams Institute)
The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is an obsolete practice. NASW supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and is committed to working toward the elimination of prejudice, social injustice, violence and discrimination of LGB people. All of society will benefit when qualified individuals are allowed to work and serve “to be all they can be”.
LGBT Aging Project
Melissa Savage, LICSW
Director, Triangle Program
Management Consultant, AK Consulting Services Inc