Idaho Soldier Serving from the Closet. DADT Repeal Doesn’t Lift All Burdens

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Dec. 30, 2010

Despite the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the policy remains in effect for several more months at least, leaving an estimated 65,000 active duty military service members still vulnerable for discharge for being gay, lesbian or bisexual.

One Idaho soldier now serving in Afghanistan as a combat medic is risking more than her life for her country. She is risking discharge because she is also a lesbian.

To protect her identity Citydesk will refer to her only as “Savanna,” which is not her real name.

“My time in service has been rough,” said Savanna. “I was aware of the DADT policy, but I don’t believe now that any soldier who DADT directly affects really understands how difficult, mentally and emotionally, hiding their true identity will be until it’s too late to turn back.”

“During basic training,” Savanna recounted, “a small group of lesbians were unfairly blamed for being ‘too close’ to who was obviously a lesbian drill sergeant. I am thankful to have had a First Sergeant who stood for what he believed was right. He pulled each of the trainees facing the indiscretion aside and helped us to send home anything that could be perceived to be against the DADT policy (letters, pictures etc.) before the investigation began.”

“I am willing to die for my country. Who I go home to at night and who I love should hold no substance,” she said. Continue reading

One-on-One Interview: Fehrenbach Flying High Since DADT Repeal

By Jody May-Chang ©2010

Lt. Col. Victor FehrenbachBorn on Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio where his father was a navigator and his mother a nurse, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was essentially born to serve.

After giving his entire adult life to the Air Force as a combat pilot, this highly decorated war hero has been grounded and sitting behind a desk for the last two and a half years.

After being outed as gay by a civilian, Fehrenbach learned, Sept. 11, 2008 his commander recommended him for separation from the U.S. Air Force under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, (DADT).

Today however, the elated Fehrenbach no longer needs his jet to fly since President Obama signed the repeal of DADT into law Dec 22. Stationed at Mountain Home AFB since 2007, Fehrenbach talked to this reporter the next day about his turbulent journey.

The day of the Senate vote (Dec. 18), “I was actually in the Senate chamber,” said Fehrenbach. “I was counting on my fingers as we went.” Suspecting 61 votes and perhaps some surprises, he knew it was in the bag when his senator, George Voinovich (R-OH), voted yes.

“I knew then it would defiantly pass the 60 mark and I knew it was over.” The final vote was 65 to 31.“Gosh, there was probably ten minutes where I was extremely emotional,” Fehrenbach recalled. Continue reading

Obama Signs DADT Repeal, Idaho Professor: “It Lights a Path for Equality.”

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Dec. 22, 2010

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010 will go down in history as a pivotal and unprecedented milestone in the struggle for equality for lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

“This is a very good day,” said President Obama, in a moving 20 minute speech before he signed into law the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” that for 17 years discriminated against gay members of the United States Military.

President Obama Signing DADT Repal into Law

Speaking directly to gay service members, Obama acknowledged a “particular kind of sacrifice” requiring them to, “carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation and all the while you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you.” Continue reading

Senate Votes to Repeal DADT

Boise Weekly City Desk Jody May-Chang

By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Dec. 18, 2010

In a historic move, the U.S. Senate passed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by a 65 to 31 vote this afternoon. Once signed into law by President Barack Obama, the 17-year ban on gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly will be over.

Republicans who voted in favor of repeal were Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and George Voinovich of Ohio. Republicans who were not present for the vote were Jim Bunning of Kentucky, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

“This is incredible news for equality and justice. We commend the senate for repealing this discriminatory and unconstitutional policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” said ACLU of Idaho Executive Director Monica Hopkins. “This is a huge win for civil rights here in Idaho. We have to remember there are many Idahoans serving in the armed forces, and now they can be judged on the content of their character and their skills as soldiers. It opens up their work environment to live openly and honestly, which is one of the core values of our armed services.” Continue reading

BREAKING: Senate Repeals DADT 65 to 31

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Saturday struck down the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, bringing to a close a 17-year struggle over a policy that forced thousands of Americans from the ranks and caused others to keep secret their sexual orientation.

By a vote of 65 to 31, with eight Republicans joining Democrats, the Senate approved and sent to President Obama a repeal of the Clinton-era law, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy critics said amounted to government-sanctioned discrimination that treated gay and lesbian troops as second-class citizens.

Mr. Obama hailed the action, which fulfills his pledge to reverse the ban. “As commander in chief, I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the Senate, on a 63-33 vote, beat back Republican efforts to block a final vote on the repeal bill.

Get the full story here on the New York Times

Poor Scott Lively Mocked on The Daily Show

Jason Jones interviews Scott Lively on The Daily Show
July 28, 2010 in Gay Reichs

Scott Lively Jason Jones Daily Show Homosexual Nazi “It’s not easy to be the person who tells the truth when a large part of the population doesn’t want to hear it. Frankly, I wish I had gotten a different assignment actually … I would have loved just been hanging out on the beach someplace but instead I got stuck with dealing with Homosexual Nazis.”
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