Dear Mr. President,
On January 27th, 2010 my heart filled with pride as I watched you reaffirm your commitment to end DADT, and my scornful words were directed at the Joint Chiefs of Staff who seemed to be angered at the very prospect and would rather prefer that LGBT soldiers remain hidden in the shadows. Now they are directed at you.
Nearly 10 months after your powerful words signifying your support for ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, your administration has turned the DADT repeal process into a horror show, angering your LGBT constituents and playing politics with the lives of thousands of LGBT soldiers who have to live every day with the grim reality of life under this homophobic policy.
For one brief, shining moment, DADT was over, but your actions ensured that it would be brought back with only the thinnest of chances to get the repeal legislation passed through congress.
This is shameful.
While serving this country for 5 years, I was forced to deal with the harsh realities of war while feeling the constant and unending pressure to keep my sexual orientation a secret under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Pressure that had a huge role in my decision to discontinue any further military service.
How many more lives need to get ruined by the pressure of the closet that DADT forces upon LGBT people that want nothing more than to serve their country without denying who they are?
How many more millions of taxpayer dollars need to be wasted processing DADT discharges and funding offensive surveys about serving with gays that aren't even completed by most of the soldiers who receive them?
For every gay soldier like me that does have a voice, for every story that is covered in the media, there are thousands more that go unreported. Their stories are stories of pain, of isolation, of fighting court battles for years after their discharges to get their categories upgraded from "dishonorable" or "general" to "honorable" just so that they can have access to the same benefits that all other veterans are entitled to.
Benefits that continue to be denied to them simply because they are gay.
Don't tell us that "it gets better" when you have the power to make it better and choose to keep a blatantly discriminatory policy around, then play politics with LGBT voters right around an election.
Dear Mr. President,
I am both Black and gay. Like many other black people, I cried tears of joy when you were elected, and your presence in the White House is the source of a deep-rooted pride in my heart.
I know that if it were 50 years ago and I was fighting for my basic rights as a Black American, I would be doing so because I knew that it was right, and I speak out and work for LGBT issues now because I know in my very soul that it is the right thing to do.
I make this comparison because the issues that face those who share my sexual orientation today are some of the same issues that faced those who share our unique history as African-Americans. They are issues of equality and issues of basic human rights.
Continuing to deny these rights in your historic place in history would not make the leaders who paved the way for us both to have an equal playing field proud.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell will die, because gay soldiers won't be silent anymore, nor will your LGBT constituency continue to tolerate actions that are in direct contradiction to your words. We will not let this moment in history pass us by, we will not waste the momentum we have worked so hard to achieve, and we will certainly not pack our things up and go home to leave another generation of honorable LGBT soldiers to suffer under this policy, which amounts to little more than the legislation of homophobia in the U.S. Military.
Dear Mr. President,
You now own Don't Ask, Don't Tell because you are the only sitting president that had the chance to let this hateful law die a quick death, but you instead chose to put it on life support. In doing so, you risk your legacy, and you risk being on the wrong side of history.
The great leaders who fought for equality for us all would not approve. I know I certainly don't.