Above: Tom Goss & Matt Alber. Left: David Hall. Right: Mike Almy.
As of midnight last night, September 19, 2011, one form of legislated bigotry has ended.With the elimination of this policy, all brave and patriotic people who want to defend this country can now serve without fear of blackmail or institutional discrimination. No longer will brave service men and women need to fear the fact that they love will come to the attention of the government. No longer will they need to be afraid when someone talks about their wife and children at home, and asks why they have no pictures like that. No longer will they need to fear they will slip up and say something when they are away from a loved one for their anniversary, or the birthday of their significant other. Well, as I am wont to do here at Soundtrack to my Day, I'll let some clever musicians tell the story.
That was Tom Goss and Matt Alber, two out and proud singer/songwriters, who came together to write the song highlighting the outrageously discriminatory policy over a year and a half ago. They released the song to raise money for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, who worked tirelessly to overturn this policy.
What the elimination of this policy does it to take away institutionally-entrenched shame and fear from young people who just want to serve their country. Young gays and lesbians can enlist in the armed services knowing what really matters is their desire to learn and serve with pride, with no room to cower or fear. They can now breath easier, and be able to say "I love someone" without fear of their world being turned upside down. Take, for example, this young man who, on the eve of the repeal, felt empowered to call his father to tell him he is gay.
This is, of course, just a step along the way to equality for the LGBTQ community. The battle for marriage equality still rages on, and somehow it is interesting to me that these two institutions, the armed services and marriage, had and still have people fighting bitterly just to keep others out. And it is not just that, they are also saying they are protecting the institution from those less worthy. They don't want to share the love and joy, but instead bludgeon with it, and use the institution to fuel their own inadequacies, and need to put others down rather than lift themselves up to be better people, better citizens.