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LGBT: OUR TIME: Breaking the Silence of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

December 7, 2011

Program Locations:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium
On September 20th, 2011, after nearly two decades in effect, the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was officially repealed. Since being made a law in 1993, it has been one of the most divisive policies in recent years, as it called for gay, lesbian and bisexual service members to keep their sexual orientation quiet. More than 17,000 service members were discharged since it was mandated by Congress. Now, for the first time in history, all active duty military members are able to serve our country openly and without shame.
 
Our Time: Breaking the Silence of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, edited by Josh Seefried, an air force officer and the co-founder and co-director of OutServe, marks the end of an era of silence, giving voice to the LGBT men and women who served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It is a compilation of short first-person essays, written primarily by active duty service members, as well as those discharged under the policy. It details the abuse—physical and mental—endured at the hands of fellow soldiers and superiors, the hardships faced by families and partners, and the pain of the choice between military and self, as well as exemplifies humanity at its very best—leaders who support their comrades, friendships forged and minds opened.   Throughout, we are reminded of the bravery and selflessness of the men and women who choose to serve our country and defend our liberties while their own freedom is withheld.
 
Join us on December 6, 7-8:30pm as Josh Seefried and contributors Jonathan Mills, Katie Miller, and Danny Hernandez share their stories, with moderator Sewell Chan.
 
Josh Seefried is currently an active duty air force officer and 2009 graduate of the Air Force Academy, and operated under the pseudonym “JD Smith” prior to repeal. As co-founder and co-director of OutServe, he is regularly sought by the media to represent gay active duty members, and has only appeared in shadow to date. Seefried was an invited guest to the presidential signing of the legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
 
Jonathan Mills is a staff sergeant and electronic technician for the U.S. Air Force currently  stationed in Washington, DC. He is the first executive editor of OutServe Magazine.
 
Katherine Miller was a cadet at West Point until she resigned in protest of “Don’t Ask, Don’t tell.” She worked as one of OutServe’s main spokespersons during the fight to repeal DADT, appearing on national television and escorting Lady Gaga at MTV’s Music Video Awards. She is currently studying at Yale and serves on OutServe’s board of directors.
 
Danny Hernandez was a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. Since his seperation from the Marines he has been a staff member at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, where he has worked for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
 

Sewell Chan is deputy Op-Ed editor at The New York Times. He was previously a Washington economic correspondent for the newspaper, the founding bureau chief of the City Room news blog, and a metropolitan reporter covering transportation and City Hall.