Congress's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was a watershed moment that ended institutionalized discrimination unjustly targeting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Yet thousands of service members who were discharged because of their sexual orientation still bear the scars of that discrimination.
On July 13, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter announced that next year, after a 6-month study, transgender Americans should be allowed to serve openly in the armed forces along with their gay and lesbian compatriots. It is a long overdue action to remove a barrier to open service for a small but significant minority.
Seeing a lot of penises is probably on every gay man's bucket list, and even heterosexual men like to check out the competition. I'm sure that a group shower is the birthplace of both athlete's foot and penis envy.
Who knows how many stories like this one have gone untold; how many lives were wrecked by policies rooted in pure prejudice, whether they were discharged or in hiding; and how many closeted servicemembers worked from the inside to dismantle, brick by brick, the DADT wall?
I can't remember the day I learned that transgender people were still banned from serving in the United States military. But I do know I met that fact with shock. How shortsighted of me to not consider them in our work. Why had I not known this before?
The claim by fundamentalists to be protecting "religious liberty" is true-these proposed laws and restrictions are indeed their attempt to create special rights to advance their religious beliefs at the expense of others who disagree with them.
Gates' book is getting a lot of attention because he slams Vice President Biden, Congress and its leaders, various White House staffers, even President Obama. But the DADT sections reveal a petulant Gates determined to be the quarterback making the calls on DADT, not the president.
As we win marriage equality, the focus of the right wing is shifting to "religious liberty" and anti-transgender legislation. Organizations will have to become more competent with transgender issues while figuring out how to raise money to advocate on the same.