The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward

15 Nov

In a historic protest at the White House moments ago, 13 people were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence.  Three generations of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell activists participated in this monumental action.  Present among the demonstrators were several men and women who’ve been arrested in similar demonstrations over the decades, including the first famous Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell protest in the 90’s, and this year’s subsequent White House DADT protests.

Former Servicemembers who were arrested in April during protests at the same location, spoke to Talk About Equality about why they were returning:

“I feel we have come to a critical juncture where we need leadership from Obama and Senator Reid to get rid of this horrible policy.  I am here today because being the first Marine discharged under this policy I feel we need to send a signal to the White House and the Senate to finally do the right thing for LGBT servicemembers and pass the repeal in the Defense Authorization Bill.” Says Justin Elzie, the first Marine discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to Talk About Equality.

Here is the full list of demonstrators who were arrested today:

Lt. Dan Choi, Petty Officer Autumn Sandeen,Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, and Cadet Mara Boyd.  All four were arrested in front of the White house in April protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Robin McGehee, co-founder and director of GetEQUAL.

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Miriam Ben-Shalom, who was discharged in 1976 and was the first LGBT servicemember reinstated to her position in the U.S. Military, by a U.S. Federal District Court. On July 30th, 1993, Miriam and 26 other protesters were arrested at the White House fence for protesting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Former U.S. Marine Corps Sergean, Justin Elzie who, in 1993, became the first Marine ever investigated and discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Former Army Arabic Linguist Ian Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the Army in December 2004.

U.S. Army Veteran and Repeal Advocate Rob Smith, who was deployed to both Iraq and Kuwait before being honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist in the U.S. Army due to the added pressure of living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.

Father Geoff Farrow, a Catholic priest who spoke out against the church’s official stance in support of California’s Proposition 8, removing the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Scott Wooledge, a New York-based LGBT civil rights advocate and blogger who has written extensively on the movement to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at Daily Kos and Pam’s House Blend.

Michael Bedwell, long-time LGBT civil rights advocate, close friend of Leonard Matlovich, and administrator of the site www.leonardmatlovich.com

Dan Fotou, an Organizer with GetEqual.

Civil rights activist, writer and speaker David Mixner told LGBTPOV upon the 17th Anniversary of the first DADT White House arrests:

“There was no question among those of us arrested that DADT was a horrible policy.  Am extremely proud of doing the right thing then and extremely proud of those doing the right thing today.”

This action culminates one day of advocacy for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal.  The big push needs to come from all of us in the remaining few weeks of this Congressional calendar.  Don’t let these 13 have sacrificed in vain.

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12 Responses to “The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward”

  1. Sarah Fryberger Madison November 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    I wish I could join you all in this fight. Each and everyone of you are so inspiring. I will continue to call my MN Elected Officials until this is overturned.

  2. David a Fairbanks November 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    The tragedy here is that the Republicans are held captive to News Corp. Its a love/hate thing all the way. Most Republicans are not bigots and would like to see change. But Roger Ailes will not allow it. He needs ratings to make a profit. He will try to ruin any GOP member that crosses him. Think Joe McCarthy circa 1950, few resisted him then because they knew his power was real. The Obama Administration is not homophobic but is Very reticent because they fear what might set off a genuine national hysteria that would wash them away. In Private President Obama must rue the day he became president. DADT will go away, change will come, when Roger Ailes who is 70, retires. Until then we are all at his mercy. If you think I’m wrong, I challenge you to spit at Ailes, you know you won’t.

    • Dirk McGribble November 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

      You are the only person to have hit this nail directly on the head. Thank you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 13 GetEQUAL Activists Chain Themselves To White House Fence To Demand DADT Repeal | The New Civil Rights Movement - November 15, 2010

    [...] Chris Geidner. Also, visit Talk About Equality for more photos. Like this? Please, share it with your friends, via Digg, Facebook, Twitter, [...]

  2. DEVELOPING: 13 GetEQUAL Activists Chain Themselves To White House Fence To Demand DADT Repeal : South Capitol Street - November 16, 2010

    [...] visit Talk About Equality for more [...]

  3. When it comes to basic equality, nobody should be on the fence | American Brands - November 16, 2010

    [...] The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward [Talk About Equality] DEVELOPING: 13 GetEQUAL Activists Chain Themselves To White House Fence To Demand DADT Repeal [NCRM] ** [...]

  4. Non-Violent Resistance : South Capitol Street - November 16, 2010

    [...] A scene from the White House yesterday to protest the continuing persecution of gay servicemembers, now championed by Senator John McCain. 13 were arrested, including Dan Choi. And they say this isn't a civil rights movement. More gripping photos here. [...]

  5. Top Posts — WordPress.com - November 16, 2010

    [...] The Ghosts of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Moving Forward In a historic protest at the White House moments ago, 13 people were arrested after chaining themselves to the White [...] [...]

  6. gaylesbianforum.com » Blog Archive » Non-Violent Resistance - November 16, 2010

    [...] A scene from the White House yesterday to protest the continuing persecution of gay servicemembers, now championed by Senator John McCain. 13 were arrested, including Dan Choi. And they say this isn’t a civil rights movement. More gripping photos here. [...]

  7. outloud! Queer Student Radio » Historic DADT Protest at the White House - November 17, 2010

    [...] Original article and images. [...]

  8. White House Arrestee Robin McGehee Now An Official White House Guest | Gay News from Gay Agenda - GayAgenda.com - November 17, 2010

    [...] After being dragged from the White House fence on Monday, GetEQUAL's Robin McGehee says she's now an invited guest of the Obama administration, meeting today with the president's chief muzzler Brian Bond. I bet they'll talk about Sen. Carl Levin's plan to strip DADT repeal from the Pentagon bill! Who wants those odds? [photo via] [...]

  9. outloud! Queer Student Radio » outloud! November 19th, 2010 - November 19, 2010

    [...] DADT Protest in DC [...]

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