In anticipation of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which will hopefully take place by the end of this summer, Time magazine is running a column by Officer X—an anonymous gay member of the military—about his experiences and reaction to the training process.
The goal of the column is to provide insight from an LGB member of the military who is still currently active. “I have been given the opportunity to share my firsthand experiences from the inside as I watch the fall of a policy that is undeniably discriminatory … By blogging here, it is my goal to share the excitement felt by every gay and lesbian service member as this burden of lies, cover stories, and double lives is lifted,” the anonymous service member writes. The blog is unique in that it reflects the silence that lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the military still face while they wait for official implementation of DADT repeal.
In the first post of the blog series, Officer X discusses how everyday conversations between troops are being affected by the official changes. “While the ‘training objective’ was met that day, the real training did not take place in that room. In almost every instance since, when someone has made a homophobic comment, the problem has been self-policed,” Officer X points out. The piece includes commentary about both the officer's own experience and that of others in the military during trainings, as well as the officer's continuing efforts to hide his sexual orientation.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was passed in 1993 by President Clinton and prohibited gay, lesbian and bisexual service members from being out about their sexual orientation while serving. Senate voted to end the law in mid-December, after 14,000 people had been discharged under it. President Obama signed the repeal measure on December 22, 2010, but he and other officials must certify that the armed forces are prepared for the change before it goes into effect.
According to Media Bistro, Officer X is a young pilot who will reveal himself once the ban on openly gay service members is lifted. (The first sentence of Officer X's blog reveals that he identifies as a gay man.) The column is published on Time's Battleland blog, and you can also follow Officer X on Twitter at @TIMEOfficerX.
GLAAD applauds this initiative by Time to tell the story of one gay military official from a new perspective.