Military contingent at the San Diego LGBT pride parade, July 15, 2017Photo: Shutterstock
There have been a lot of important stories that have gained attention in the news lately. One story that garnered some attention but not much over the past week was the 10th anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the policy that effectively banned gay, bisexual and American lesbians to serve in the military.
We have seen social media posts from former President Barack Obama, who signed the repeal of DADT, and now from President Joe Biden (who was vice president when DADT was repealed) commemorating the anniversary and celebrating all the progress we have made since then.
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We not only have an army today that allows gay, bi, and lesbian servicemen, but also includes American trans and other members of the LGBTQ community.
Significant news related to what received little coverage in the press, however, was the same day announcement from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that any veteran who has been “dismissed without honor. “due to her sexuality during the DADT era will have all the benefits returned to them.
The fact that this has not received more media attention is very surprising, given the importance of this issue. Tens of thousands of Americans have been kicked out of the military and deprived of their legitimate benefits as a result of this unjust policy; that the government finally right this wrong is the start of a long overdue solace in the pain and suffering that so many have endured.
As a result of this change, all affected service members will now have access to health care, disability compensation, and home loans, among many other IL benefits.
This is only the beginning, however, of what needs to be done; the US government should issue a formal apology to all of these innocent people and also facilitate the process for their discharge to be changed to an honorable discharge if it has not already happened.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a moral failure for America that had a real and damaging impact on the lives of many of our citizens. We are finally starting to turn the page on those dark years, and this is something we must celebrate and continue.