When I was 17, I got involved with lesbian, gay, bisexual rights as my high school was forming its gay-straight alliance. In the 90s, this was still considered progressive and controversial. I have taken part in marches and other moves for equality, including blogging about them, ever since.
Yesterday, I went to the National March for Equality in Washington DC. For me, the march was special for two reasons, one unlike the DC pride parade, this one passed both the white house and the capitol. Two, I spent sometime talking to someone who has been out of the closet for quite a while, but who had never done anything like this. He was a proud member of the US military and, therefore, barred from participation. Having left the military officially the day before, this was our celebration. For him, this was a second step out of the closet; one where he could allow himself to be overwhelmed by the number of people marching, the PFLAG (Parents and Family of Lesbian and Gays) mothers screaming “we love you”, and feeling of celebration that the march gave him.
I have heard the argument that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) doesn’t harm anyone, because it doesn’t actually forbid service members from being gay. Silence is harmful. Silence teaches to internalize a sense of self that is less worthy. Silence says that we, as a country, support discrimination. And, silence, and the internalized homophobia that accompanies it, is hard and painful to unlearn. Support our troops– repeal DADT.
**This photo by RandalM— check out his page for more great photos**