SLDN offers advice on DADT repeal celebrations

With the end of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy less than a week today, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is offering advice to servicemembers wishing to celebrate the end of this policy.

“We expect that most of the DADT repeal celebrations will be just that — celebrations of the repeal of a bad law. No special rules apply to attendance at or participation in such events,” SLDN said. The group issued its guidance after reviewing military policy.

So once “don’t ask, don’t tell” ends, can troops announce that they’re gay? Yes. Can they attend parties celebrating the end of the ban? Yes. Can they help raise money for a gay rights group? Not if it’s on a military base, according to Defense Department policy.

Troops wishing to attend repeal-related events next week may wear their uniforms and speak as individuals “about the importance of repeal to them personally and to the services generally,” SLDN said in a memo to troops published Monday. “They may say that they are happy and proud that they now do not have to hide their sexual orientation,” the memo said. But they “should not, of course, criticize their commanders (or past commanders) or elected officials or urge the election or defeat of candidates for office.”

The whole article should be read by any member of the military planning on attending a celebration. I have faith our community will act with the same professionalism and military bearing we’ve shown since the very beginning of our nation. Of course, our enemies are going to continue to watch us very closely for any kind of missteps by individuals they can then use to criticize our entire community.

Here is a list of celebrations via SLDN:

We are just one week away from making history, and we want you to be a part of it! Next Tuesday, SLDN is teaming up with organizations, universities and allies across the country to host celebration events marking the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Below you will find a list of events in your region:
Des Moines, IA –
In partnership with: One Iowa
Manhattan, KS –
In partnership with: Kansas State University LGBT Resource Center, Flint Hills PFLAG, and Flint Hills Human Rights Project
Minneapolis, MN –
Rochester, MN –
In partnership with: Bronson Lemer
Fargo, ND –
Omaha, NE –
In partnership with: The Max Night Club
Tulsa, OK –
In partnership with: Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
Sioux Falls, SD –
In partnership with: Toppers Fun & Spirits bar

SLDN also has an interactive online tool to create an event to celebrate this victory.

Also, we must temper our celebrations by remembering this is the beginning of winning this particular war. We’ve won a huge battle, but I’m sure I don’t need to remind our readers we are far from being treated equally in or out of the armed forces. We have a lot of work left to accomplish in order to have our full equality observed as American citizens who just happen to be members of the LGBT community. One thing to note, for instance, is that the transgender members of our community still can not serve.

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