U.S. Air Force First Lt. Joshua David
Seefried has said repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” has made
discrimination against gay troops visible.
Seefried is a co-founder of OutServe,
the only professional organization for gay and bisexual military
personnel on active duty.
On September 20, the day “Don't Ask,
Don't Tell” was officially lifted, Seefried shed the alias he had
used for several years, J.D. Smith, and the group stopped working
DADT gone, gay troops convene in Las Vegas.)
In a Fresh
Air interview, Seefried told host Terry Gross that he was
nervous at revealing himself as J.D. Smith on September 20.
“I was incredibly nervous going into
midnight, but after midnight, I started receiving text messages and
phone calls of support – more than I ever had thought was possible
to get,” he said.
Seefried added that repeal of the law
that banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly has revealed
a number of inequities.
“When 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
existed, everyone was assumed to be straight,” Seefried said. “The
discrimination was invisible. So when you were kicking out someone
from the military, everyone got to turn an eye to it. But now that
there's actually openly gay troops, that's visible. And it's very
different how gay troops are being treated than straight troops.”
Because the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA) bars the military from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
and lesbian couples, married straight members of the military receive
higher pay and benefits than their gay counterparts and the military
works to keep straight married coupes together with joint