Tuesday, September 20, 2011

DADT Ends: Celebrations, Unfinished Business

The "don't ask, don't tell" ban on service by openly gay members of the military officially ended at midnight last night, and I'm celebrating, though, as John Aravosis notes at Americablog Gay this morning, there's still much work to do to assure full equality of LGBT service members with other soldiers.  There are still not equal partner benefits for gay couples in the military, for instance.  (And that subject remains always in the forefront of my own mind, since, as I've shared on this blog frequently, I don't have health insurance and Steve's employer won't provide partner benefits.  It's a constant struggle, deferring necessary health care as long as possible, since we simply can't afford insurance or expensive health care for me . . . . And it's a struggle too many folks in our nation live with; and more folks shouldn't be placed in this position of tremendous anxiety due to sheer prejudice, in my view).

As various news and blog sites dissect the end of DADT this morning, the video to which I've linked at the head of the posting is making the rounds of various sites.  It's an American soldier in Germany coming out to his father in Alabama as DADT ended.

I found the video painful and moving to watch.  It especially grabbed me when the young man trying to muster courage to place the call to his father said that his heart was pounding out of his chest.

I can relate.  And because I can relate, I find his act of courage touching.  And I take heart in this act of courage, which will open the door for others who feel urged to build similar bonds with family members by telling the truth about themselves.

As I watched the video, I thought, as well, of the conversations on centrist Catholic blog sites to which I've linked recently, in which Catholics of the American Catholic intellectual center worry the question of how or whether to inform their gay brothers and sisters that we're disordered.  I wish more of those Catholics who set the intellectual tone of American Catholicism could get it:

I wish that they could get that this is about human lives, human hearts, human beings, and human relationships.  And that telling anyone anywhere that they're disordered in their very nature, inclinations, affections, and personhood is serious business.  And if you do intend to tag people in that way, you really need some sound evidence to back up your judgment of disorder.

Otherwise, you're liable to inflict a world of hurt on people who may already be hurting.  And that should not be done in the name of God.

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