Bloggers Opinions — 21 September 2012
A Year After DADT: In Mixed Company

Photo by U.S. Air Force

Part of a series of guest blogs reflecting on the first anniversary of the formal repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

By Bryan Watts

During DADT, the weeks moved forward with gay “jokes” thrown around in my unit. This of course happened on a daily basis, and it seemed like I was alone in a career not meant for me. As a new junior enlisted Airman at the time, I was forced to smile and laugh with them as they ridiculed me without even knowing it.

Post-DADT, the gay jokes have died down, yes, but no one has changed. I still hear “faggot” and “queer” when someone does something wrong, including my SNCO’s (Senior Noncommissioned Officer) saying it. One SNCO even told a few of us a story that he “hated” faggots and wished they would all die, that’s why he doesn’t like San Francisco. How can I work with a group of people who would hate me if I showed them who I really was?

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Now, all you really hear is, “It’s a different Air Force” or “We live in a different military now,” if someone does anything “gay.” Nothing has really changed in my opinion. My leadership is very religious and I know they feel strongly against homosexuals. I have told most of my friends in the Junior Enlisted Tier that I am gay, and NOT ONE of them has treated me differently. If anything, we are closer and we get along and work way better. But I can’t really tell anyone else NCO or higher, without fear of being mistreated. Maybe in time things will get better, but as a low rank on the enlisted side, can we really come out to our leadership, our co-workers, our friends, without fear of being treated differently? DADT being repealed is an amazing one step forward, but to me it’s just that, one step; we have miles to go.

Watts is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force.


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