Talking About Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell

The Talking About series was co-authored by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), in partnership with a board of contributing editors from the Human Rights Campaign, Lake Research Partners, PFLAG's Straight for Equality project, Arizona Together, researcher Margaret Conway, and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN, on the Don't Ask, Don't Tell section).

This series is grounded in a basic truth: that understanding our audience -- and meeting them where they're at with the language and descriptions we use -- is essential to connecting with those undecided Americans who can move from ambivalent to supportive when we reach out in terms they understand.

Often in conversations about issues like marriage, employment protections, inclusive hate crimes laws, adoption, and ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it can be easy to fall back on technical, abstract or highly charged language. This kind of language, while it may feel familiar
and comfortable to us, can derail discussions with those who are not familiar with the issues, are conflicted or not yet supportive, or are simply not aware of how their actions -- or their inaction -- can hurt everyday Americans.

These issues are really about basic human values and needs – our ability to earn a living, be safe in our communities, serve our country, and take care of the ones we love. And when we move away from abstract, technical language and toward discussions that connect people to our common ground and common values, true understanding can take root.

The Talking About series is not about how we as a community discuss issues among ourselves or with our allies and others who are already supportive. It is geared toward helping those who are conflicted or undecided better understand the issues, and toward helping them recognize the importance of and need for their support.

We hope you will find the Talking About series useful in advancing your discussions about the harms and injustices we face, the essential legal protections we need, and the common values we share.

If you have any questions, please email talkingaboutseries@glaad.org.

Read "Talking About Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

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