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If you’re gay and in the military, tell all today

People online celebrated the end of "don't ask, don't tell" in their own way -- with words, pictures and lots of support.


Fernando Alfonso III

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 20, 2011   Updated on Jun 3, 2021, 2:40 am CDT

Users of Reddit and Tumblr reacted with joy to the announcement that the law prohibiting gay U.S. military members from serving openly was repealed today.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell,” a 17-year-old law, was repealed by President Barack Obama in what many have hailed, as one Tumblr  user put it, a “milestone of American progress toward being the greatest country in the world.”

“As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love,” Obama said in a statement. “Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans”

On social news site Reddit and blog site Tumblr soldiers shared their stories of being gay and serving with gay soldiers.

One redditor said he was happy to see the repeal so he could have made sure his jokes matched up with the sexuality of fellow Marine in his unit, who was gay.

“He was in the closet (though we all knew) until he got out and was rather shocked than none of us gave half a rats ass,” he wrote on Reddit. “We explained it to him very simple, the only reason we need to know if a fellow Marine is gay or straight is so that we know how to properly insult them.”

On Tumblr, a female soldier who goes by Bookish Butch wrote about her fear of being caught for being gay. Though the law’s repeal is something to celebrate, there’s still a long way to go toward equality, she wrote.

She noted that marriage laws in the United States still preclude gays and lesbians  from “housing, benefits, or anything else that heterosexual partnerships enjoy. But she added, “it does give us one thing – we’re able to proclaim our sexuality to our fellow soldiers – and that’s a sentence that so many of us have waited years (and decades, for some) to say.”

One gay Air Force member on Reddit named repealdoma, 21, of Georgia, celebrated on the social news site with a simple gesture: a photo of himself standing in front of a rainbow striped American flag with his fist up in the air (the pose is a play on a famous photo of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, which has become an image meme on the site).

“The repeal of DADT will be one of those moments that when they look back at the Gay Rights movement”  people will see it as a “pivotal” change, he said. “It was exciting to see it talked about but I never really thought it would happen in my service time,” repealdoma said in an email interview interview with the Daily Dot.

“As it actually happened,” he added, “ I was like a shaken bottle of Coke waiting to explode [from my excitement] — but still, of course, kept everything in.”

Photo by repealdoma.

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*First Published: Sep 20, 2011, 4:52 pm CDT