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Stories from the front lines: letters to Barack Obama; LETTER FOR MONDAY, MAY 17, 2010


“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. We are urging the President to include repeal in the Administration’s defense budget recommendations, but also to voice his support as we work to muster the 15 critical votes needed on the Senate Armed Services Committee to include repeal. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.


May 17, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President, I am a proud Army veteran of the first Gulf War.
You won't find anyone who loves this country more. I get chills and
teary eyes, every time I hear the Pledge of Allegiance or The Star
Spangled Banner. I've been known to call a business when I see them
flying a tattered flag to let them know that if that's all the pride
they have in the American flag, they should just take it down. I am
also a proud lesbian. I joined the military in 1989, before “Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell” (DADT) was enacted and when there was an outright ban on
gays and lesbians in the military. I did not realize at the time that I
was a lesbian, but later, when I did come to terms with my being gay, I
never tried to hide it, but I did not flaunt it either. My sexual
orientation was a non-issue. I was a hard charging soldier, promoted
long before my peers. I am sure there was talk behind my back about me
being a lesbian, but no one ever seemed to care. I was a good friend,
soldier, and leader; everyone I encountered could have cared less about
what happened in my private life. After DADT was passed, I started to
hear stories about people being discharged. I struggled with this every
day, always fearful that I would be next. Eventually, the stress of
constant fear that I could lose my job no matter how hard I worked or
how well I performed, became too much. I knew from the stories of
others that even serving to the very best of my ability could cost me
my job. I knew that an anonymous tip—by someone who was jealous of my
success, angry with me because of a disagreement, or mad because I
rebuffed a sexual advance—could trigger a demoralizing, demeaning
investigation under DADT. And if I was not willing to lie, I knew an
investigation could lead to my discharge. I was lucky, though. I did
not get kicked out, but that does not mean that DADT didn’t affect me.
The uncertainty and fear of knowing that anyone with a grudge could end
my career, and the sadness in realizing that at any time my country
could callously discard me for no other reason than the fact that I was
gay, pressured me to give up the career I loved. I chose not to
reenlist. There are days when it is hard for me not to walk into the
nearest recruiting station and sign back up. I watch what is happening
in Iraq and Afghanistan and it's hard for me to think about not being
there with the men and women I served with in the first Gulf War. I
have to remind myself why I chose not to reenlist. Defending our
country in uniform is one of the greatest privileges and
responsibilities of being an American. Many people do not appreciate
that; many take our freedoms for granted; and many do not choose to
serve. We cannot afford to lose those who want to serve, who have the
necessary skills and work ethic, and who would risk their lives for
their comrades and their country. Mr. President, in your State of the
Union Address, you said that the American people are not quitters. I
did not quit on my country during the first Gulf War and I would serve
again if called. There are at least 66,000 gays and lesbians serving
right now who do not want to quit, either. Mr. President, please don’t
quit on them. Please do everything in your power to end DADT this year.
We are counting on you. Respectfully, Former Sgt. Shonda Garrison
United States Army


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-HEY #p2! (Progressives).

We can't do this alone.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have been fighting for over half a Century to have basic Civil Rights. We have so much to do, and we are such a small group. Without an army of Progressive allies, we can't win. Our rights as American citizens are constantly being compromised, despite life-time service to our nation as good, contributing citizens. We can't wait any longer. We need our Progressive allies to step up and go to bat for us TODAY.

We must demand Progressives have got to make LGBT rights a top priority in 2010, or we will keep being put on the back-burner.

There will ALWAYS be something more important than LGBT equality affecting America--issues like Health Care Reform and the Economy effect LGBT people too! However, when we are discriminated against under the law every single day, we can't give our all to fixing these problems. We are long overdue to be counted as equal citizens. That&#…