The "Voices of Honor: A Generation Under Don't Ask, Don't Tell" national tour hits Trenton, New Jersey and the immediate metropolitan New York City area today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday). There are two events, so try to make at least one - if not both of them.
The tour is a partnership between the Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United, and is one part of a nationwide effort in the ongoing efforts to repeal DADT.
The tour is intended to highlight the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell law that hurts military readiness and national security by requiring the dismissal of openly gay and lesbian service members wanting to proudly serve their country. Meanwhile, the U.S. military is enlisting gang members and white supremacists into its ranks to reach its recruiting goals.
The policy is clearly flawed, and puts all American military personnel fighting for our country in danger, and the entire country at risk.
That said, there are two big events you don't want to miss if you are in the area:
On Wednesday, July 29th, at 7pm in Boonton, N.J., there will be a documentary screening of Ask Not, a PBS documentary on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. It's going to be held at the Switch Nightclub, Bar, and Restaurant.
Following the screening, there will be a Question & Answer session featuring two of the principals, Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski, in the film.
If you can't make the screening of the film - which I would highly recommend, as there's nothing like watching a movie about queers with a whole bunch of queers - there will be a Public Town Hall Discussion on DADT Thursday.
The Thursday event will be held at 5 p.m. at the Mill Hill Playhouse of the Passage Theater Company, at 205 East Front St. in Trenton.
During this discussion, you'll be able to talk with gay, lesbian and straight individuals about the damaging effects of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
My stance on DADT is clear. It shouldn't have been enacted in the first place, and it only serves to weaken our armed forces and the brave men and women fighting alongside each other for our country.
Here's what the Human Rights Campaign says about the "Voices of Honor" national tour:
After more than 15 years, many former congressional and senior military leaders who were involved in the construction and implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" have recently called for the law to be reviewed or repealed, including former Joint Chiefs Chairmen Gen. John Shalikashvili and Gen. Colin Powell, and former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA).
The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283), which would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was introduced in the U.S. House earlier this year.
Passed in 1993, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law allows gay, lesbian and bisexual service personnel to serve in the armed forces as long as their sexual orientation is not publicly disclosed or discovered.
As of 2008, more than 13,000 men and women have been fired from the military because of their sexual orientation, including more than 60 Arabic linguists and nearly 800 other service members in critical occupational fields.
For more information, visit HRC's website
or Servicemembers United
As I have written before, and it is well past time for this anachronistic and discriminatory legislation to be soundly rejected by the Obama administration and a Democratically-controlled U.S. Congress. Nearly 70% of Americans believe the legislation is flawed, and should be repealed. What are we waiting for?
Go to one of the events on the tour if you are able. Our brave gay and lesbian servicemembers are fighting alongside their straight counterparts for every American's freedom.
It's ridiculous that every American is not appalled by Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Call your representatives and senators - NOW.
Americans of all stripes and colors will thank you, as will all the gay and lesbian servicemembers - serving in silence.