Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-07-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



SLDN Lobbies for Right to Fight
by Bob Roehr

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Pictured Brian Fricke at SLDN's D.C. benefit. He is a former Marine Sergeant who served in Iraq. Retired General Claudia J. Kennedy, the first woman to achieve three stars, and C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of SLDN. Photos by Bob Roehr

'There are 65,000 LGBT American servicemembers currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world; there are one million veterans,' said C. Dixon Osburn. 'And the government discharges two service members every day for being gay.'

The vast majority of gays and lesbians continue to serve 'because the commanders don't care, or the commanders do care and value our service,' the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) said at the 14th Annual Dinner, on May 13, prior to two days of lobbying Congress.

'There is nothing fair, dignified, or respectful' about the anti-gay military policy known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Osburn said. That is why SLDN and their dozen plaintiffs will appeal the recent court decision throwing out their legal challenge to that policy. The nation's ideals of freedom and equality 'cannot be hijacked by our enemies.'

'I believe that Justice Kennedy meant what he wrote [ in the Lawrence decision striking down sodomy laws ] , that the government cannot demean our existence or control our destiny by making private sexual conduct a crime. Don't Ask, Don't Tell fails that standard.'

Over the past year, SLDN has saved the careers of more than three dozen servicemembers, including six who have served for more than 19 years and would have lost their pensions for being kicked out as gay.

'We believe there is a real opportunity to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell over the next three to five years,' Osburn said. Public opinion 'is solidly behind us,' and even Republicans are split with 46% supporting and opposing letting gays serve openly in the military.

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act ( HR 1059 ) would repeal that policy. It has gained 115 cosponsors in the first year after being introduced.

SLDN gave one of the Republican cosponsors, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen ( Florida ) , the Randy Shilts Visibility Award. When she announced that she was cosponsoring the bill, Ros-Lehtinen told the Miami Herald, 'We tried the policy. I don't think it works. And we have spent a lot of money supporting it. We investigate people, bring them up on charges, basically wreck their lives. People who signed up to serve our country, we need to be thanking them.'

In a videotaped acceptance, Ros-Lehtinen said, 'I am proud to support and advance the interests of the lesbian and gay community … to protect the civil rights that are guaranteed to all Americans by our nation's Constitution.'

'Sexual orientation does not affect your performance in combat and it should not be a factor' in serving the country.

Brian Fricke, wearing the dress blues of a former Marine Sergeant who served in Iraq, spoke of how he came to terms with his sexual orientation and discovered a network of gays and lesbians within the military.

He found great acceptance among his peers who knew he was gay; 'the only ones who think it's a big deal are those here in Washington.' Still, he had to deny who he was and hide the facts of 'the love of my life. I couldn't share an important part of my life that everyone else was free to talk about.'

'I became one of the many LGBT servicemembers who decided on dignity and love.' After five year in the Marines, Fricke made the decision not to reenlist.

Retired General Claudia J. Kennedy, the first woman to achieve three stars, said values are at the core of the military. 'I believe that as an institution, our military needs to live up to the values we demand of those serving. Military leaders need to respect all servicemembers.'

The former deputy director of military intelligence recounted how one of the Army's best Chinese linguists asked to be discharged because he was gay. 'It was a terrible loss … and our intelligence operations lost some degree of readiness. We are wasting our most precious asset, our people.'

'When we say, you are good enough to serve Iraq, but not be openly gay, we break our trust with all of our servicemembers,' Kennedy said. 'It is time to acknowledge that our military is as diverse as the country it protects.'

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


WORLD Alan Turing, Theresa May, UN expert, South Korea military 2019-07-16
House passes Military Non-Discrimination Amendment 2019-07-11
High court workplace cases affect LGBTQ veterans, military families, national security 2019-07-03
City salutes LGBT veterans, Army veteran speaks for trans military service 2019-06-26
NATIONAL Kamala Harris, military poll, gay-bar attack, Cracker Barrel 2019-06-25
Court lets Trump anti-trans ban stand, and orders new review 2019-06-15
NATIONAL Military items, trans murders, Southern trans report 2019-05-22
LGBTQ veterans' group holding Memorial Day events 2019-05-22
Chelsea Manning back in jail 2019-05-16
GLN hosts Chelsea Manning fundraiser 2019-05-14
AMPA, OutServe-SLDN combine to form Modern Military Association of America 2019-05-11
LGBTQ military and veteran to hold D.C. gala 2019-05-07
GLN to Host Fundraiser For Chelsea Manning 2019-04-19
Trans military ban now in effect 2019-04-12
Military policy researchers call trans ban the return of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" 2019-04-10
APA Concerned About Transgender Military Ban 2019-04-09
U.S. House votes to condemn military transgender ban 2019-03-28
75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to Speak atvLGBTQ Military Event 2019-03-21
NATIONAL Trans military ban, Fla. candidate, inmate meets end 2019-03-12
Pentagon proceeding with anti-trans military ban 2019-03-12
Chelsea Manning jailed again 2019-03-08
NATIONAL Trans military ban, Black icons, Edie Windsor, trans art exhibit 2019-02-13
Congressional resolution for open trans military service put forward, groups comment 2019-02-11
Trans military item to be heard Feb. 19 2019-02-09
PASSAGES Brian Patrick Donegan, Air Force veteran 2019-02-08
Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Support Trans Military Service, Groups Respond 2019-02-07
Peter Shinkle, author of Ike's Mystery Man, Feb. 11 at Pritzker Military Library 2019-02-06
LGBTQ Military Organizations Respond to Trump State of the Union Address 2019-02-06
Legislators invite trans service members to State of the Union, groups respond 2019-02-05
LGBTQ Congressman Invites Transgender Former Servicemember to State of the Union 2019-02-05
SCOTUS upholds trans military ban with 'no-blanket ban' 2019-01-30
Poll Says 70% of Americans Oppose Trump-Pence Transgender Military Ban 2019-01-30
SCOTUS ruling could impact 15,000+ trans adults now in military 2019-01-22
Trump's trans military ban to be enforced while challenges proceed, groups respond 2019-01-22
Supreme Court allows trans military ban to go into effect 2019-01-22
Trump's Trans Military Ban Still Blocked Despite New Decision 2019-01-04
Court sides with Trump on trans military ban 2019-01-04
OutServe-SLDN Urges Court to Deny Premature Review of Trans Military Ban Rulings 2018-12-26
NATIONAL: Military lawsuit, Ohio's pro-trans measure, Obama highway 2018-12-26
HIV+ Air Force members discharged, OutServe-SLDN Lambda Legals sue 2018-12-19

Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.