Happy DADT Repeal day to my amazing wife! I love you and I’m so proud of your service!
Six years ago, the military rescinded the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Six years ago, I didn’t really notice. I was busy with my young kids ages 8, 6, and 3, pregnant with #4. It was not on my radar. If you had asked me then what DADT policy even was, I would have given you a vague answer. Something to the effect of, “Sounds reasonable to me. Just don’t talk about it. It’s nobody’s business.” I was studying midwifery, helping women in labor as a doula, a certified breastfeeding counselor, and opening a shop downtown. This policy, and the rescinding of it, certainly had no bearing on my life. My future wife was married as well, buckling down in her civilian career, and had recently been selected for an officer position with the Air National Guard. I’m embarrassed to say I only took its meaning at face value: Sexual orientation just doesn’t need to be talked about. Don’t tell us, we won’t ask, and everyone gets along. I had no idea that it still meant that if you were outed, you could still be discharged if someone found out and didn’t like it. Perhaps the majority of Americans felt the same way. After all, a very low percentage of Americans are in the military. Little did I know that 6 years ago this decision to rescind DADT would have a huge impact on my life!
Three years ago I fell in love with my best friend and my life changed in every respect. Today I enjoy and live life freely in the open, proudly married to my Air National Guard wife. She is free to be open about her private life in her job. We frequently discuss how amazingly different we are living as a couple, compared to just a decade ago. When she came out 2.5 years ago, she determined she would be up front and open. She freely mentions that she has a wife, and talks about her family. She has not once received even a strange look, let alone anything negative. No one really batted an eye. I think that in part it’s because she’s been determined to be open and free about it. But, in large part it’s because of these decisions at the highest levels that have paved the way to our family feeling welcome in the military, not to mention her being able to give her best and her all for our country without fear of someone deciding to out her.
These policies aren’t on our radar until they become personal. Once they are, they become invaluable and life-altering. I can’t imagine how our lives would look had this policy stayed in place. I love being able to talk about her, and she about me. Each time she goes TDY she comes out to new military people around her. She happily takes me to the family picnics, the Governor’s Ball, the awards banquets, the Christmas parties, and we host get-togethers at our house. Our children enjoy health insurance benefits. They can also talk about their other mom without feeling guarded. My military ID has her listed as my spouse, and I love being able to meet her at work for lunch. I love that we can walk down the street in our town holding hands and without being afraid that her job might be in jeopardy. Just as DADT ending has been a blessing for us, I can’t help but feel for those individuals living in fear that the ban on trans members serving openly in the military may be reinstated. It’s not important until it’s personal, and I hope that we can move past the misinformation and let these people, who are fully qualified and willing to serve, give their best for our country, just as my wife has been able to do.
So today we celebrate DADT ending because it has paved the way to our family living a full, enriched, blessed life of love. And after all, LOVE WINS.