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On the other hand, homosexual or bisexual service members could not disclose their sexual orientation or refer to any same-sex relationships.

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Was Announced by Bill Clinton 25 Years Ago

At center is Navy Capt. What did it do? But many gay rights activists criticized the policy as falling way short, claiming DADT did little to promote acceptance of gays and lesbians within the military. In practice, the policy did little to change the behavior of commanding officers toward service members they suspected of being gay, and by , the military had discharged more than 13, gays, lesbians and bisexuals since DADT was introduced, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

In , just after Senate Republicans blocked a repeal effort, Clinton himself voiced regret over the policy , and said he had only settled on it after it became clear both the Senate and the House would favor an absolute ban on gays in the military. By , several U. Later that year, the Pentagon announced the results of a report aimed at determining how a repeal would affect the military, and some 70 percent of U.

After the repeal became official on September 20, , it seemed to have a domino effect on other longstanding barriers within the armed forces.

Disappointment for advocates

In , the Pentagon announced it would lift the ban on women serving in ground-combat units. In , the Pentagon added sexual orientation to the Military Equal Opportunity policy for the first time, meaning gay servicemen and servicewomen would be protected from discrimination.

Finally, in June the military ended its ban on transgender service members , a group that according to some estimates may have numbered some 15, at that time.

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Though President Donald Trump issued an executive memo in August announcing that the pre ban on transgender troops would be reinstated , various ongoing legal challenges to the new ban delayed its taking effect. We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you.

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Gravett and others who lived through DADT told the Guardian that so much had changed since the repeal, though the past feels unbelievable at times. Around the time the ban was lifted, there were an estimated 66, lesbian, gay and bisexual service members in the military.

President Obama Repeals "Don't Ask Don't Tell" - Veterans speak

More than 14, people were thought to have been discharged under DADT during the 18 years it was in effect. But the ban on homosexuality in the military began long before DADT, with as many as , discharged for their sexual orientation from the second world war to the repeal, according to the New York Times.

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As their relationship flourished, Broadway-Mack made the leap to live the military lifestyle for her partner and got a glimpse into what being in a same-sex relationship under DADT was like. They could live together off of the base, but because Mack was an officer they had to lie and say they were just roommates. During her delivery, Mack went into cardiac arrest and their son was taken to a neonatal intensive care unit.

Because of the few rights afforded to lesbian, gay and bisexual couples back then outside of the military, Broadway-Mack had to jump through hoops to care for her partner and her son.

How 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Continues to Impact the Military | Time

Ashley Carothers, 30, said she long dreamt of the day she could be herself without fear of retribution. Knowing she was a lesbian long before she enlisted i n the Air Force in , her mindset was singular when she joined. Why would I do that? It was like a secret society where members could come together without fear.

'Don't ask, don't tell': military members 'out and proud' five years after repeal

SSgt Matthew Hardwig, 24, enlisted in the air force in April Stationed in North Dakota, he joined the local chapter of OutServe after a fellow member of the air force outed him. His superiors never formally questioned him, but he was nervous about the possibility. The chapter leader of OutServe reached out to him and offered guidance.


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Though Denny Meyer, 70, left the military in as a sergeant first class, he said the repeal still meant a great deal to him. He served in the navy and army reserves from to and said he would have stayed longer had he not needed to hide his identity. Ingram enlisted in the army in but soon felt that he needed to speak up about his sexuality.

He wrote a letter coming out to his commanding officer in and, after a delay because it was believed that Clinton might lift the ban on open LGBT military members, was discharged in , he said. When the legislation was finally signed after many years of legislative battles, Ingram was in attendance.


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  • The next day after publication, everyone on the base was giving her high-fives. He was excited that he could finally date.