I had a friend ask me the other day why I hadn't written a celebration blog about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, so I figured it was time to write. And time to write about why I am not celebrating...yet.
Part of why I am not celebrating yet is just due to timing. C and I watched Milk the day that DADT was repealed by the President. All the time I was watching I was struck by just how far we haven't come yet. How many things are still the same. How many still need changed. C thought the opposite. That we had made great strides. That in today's day and age you couldn't get someone like Anita Byrant leading a campaign of intolerance based solely on her religious beliefs. Then I reminded him of Prop 8 in California and how the Mormon Church had come in and waged a strong political campaign couched in "American Values" to keep basic rights out of the hands of people that disagreed with their religious beliefs.
He and I had a great discussion after watching the movie on rights and beliefs and what happens when those things conflict. He and his friends give me hope that we will continue down the path of equal rights for everyone, not just equal rights for those that think the same way we think.
The other is that nothing has changed yet...really. Robert Gates had to warn our troops that they couldn't come out yet. The UCMJ has not been changed so it is still not okay to be openly gay. Signing the repeal was just the first step in what will prove to be a lengthy process. It's a good first step. It's an important first step. But I want them to make leaps now. Because even though our men and women who choose to serve our country and are homosexual will soon be able to do so openly they will still not be able to marry the person that they love. They will still not be able to get the military benefits for their partners that I was able to get when Brent was in the service. They will still face years of open and hidden hostility by people who have been raised to believe that being gay is a choice and a wrong choice.
One of my hopes for 2011 is that somewhere the light is going on in a lot of different minds that rights aren't a limited resource. That by allowing others to have their full share doesn't mean you have to give up yours. My right to be married isn't going to go away if that same right is given to my gay friends. My right to not be discriminated against because of the sexual organs of the person I love will not be lessened if that same right is afforded to others. Rights aren't like pie, I don't have to give up my piece to give you yours. We all deserve the same treatment, remember it's not about special rights, it's about equal rights.
So though I am very glad that this backwards law is in the process of going away, though I am thrilled that this will give young people who are gay hope for a better future, though I am optimistic that this will help start the ball rolling towards a more inclusive America, I am still not ready to celebrate. But I hope to be able to soon. And trust me on that day I will write a huge celebratory blog!