News Shaun Knittel Uncategorized — 12 September 2012
Weekly News Roll-Up September 6 – 11

By Shaun Knittel
Online News Editor

A new study by the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, has found that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) has had no negative impact on force readiness, recruitment or retention. The research by nine scholars, some professors at military academies, began six months after DADT ended and wrapped up near the one-year mark. The study, published September 9, showed that the repeal hadn’t been responsible for any new wave of violence or physical abuse among service members and looks to have empowered some gay troops to resolve disagreements around harassment in ways that were not possible before. Here’s a look at that story and other news items that helped to shape the lives of LGBT service members during the week of September 6 – 11:


Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people when four airliners hijacked by Islamist militants hit the Pentagon outside Washington D.C., brought down the Twin Towers of new York City’s World Trade Center, and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Speaking at Pentagon (one of three main ceremonies) on Tuesday, President Barack Obama said the victims of September 11 will be remembered “no matter how many years pass.”

“Eleven times we have paused in remembrance and reflection, in unity and in purpose,” Obama told victims’ families at the Pentagon, where 184 people were killed on 9/11. “This is never an easy day, but it is especially difficult for all of you, the families of nearly 3,000 innocents who lost their lives.

“But no matter how many years pass, no matter how many times we come together on this hallowed ground, know this: That you will never be alone, your loved ones will never be forgotten. They will endure in the hearts of our nation because through their sacrifice they helped us make the America we are today, an America that has emerged even stronger.”

Read the full story at:


On September 10, The Palm Center published released a study that says the repeal of DADT has not had a negative impact on force readiness, recruitment, or retention – which stands in direct contrast to the dire predictions by high ranking GOP members of the U.S. government when the Obama administration announced in December 2010 they would seek to rid the Department of Defense of the policy.

The Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined “DADT repeal appears to have enhanced the military’s ability to pursue its mission.”

According to the Palm Center, nine scholars (some professors at military academies) began the research six months after DADT ended and wrapped up a short time ago. The scholars reportedly interviewed opponents and advocates of the repeal, as well as active duty service members who are gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research. They reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter saying the repeal would undermine the military and eventually got interviews with 13 officers.

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On September 11, openly gay Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) released a statement in response to criticism he received after telling Michelangelo Signorile at the DNC, “For 20 years now I’ve heard how the Log Cabins are going to make Republicans better, but they’ve only gotten worse. I now understand why they call themselves Log Cabin: their role model is Uncle Tom.”

Frank, a longtime champion of LGBT rights in Congress, said in statement released Tuesday, “But my use of “Uncle Tom” was based not simply on this awful fact that they have chosen to be actively on the wrong side of an election that will have an enormous impact on our right to equality, both in fact and in the public perception of the popularity of that cause. If the Log Cabin Republicans – or their even more outlandish cousins, the oddly-named GOProud – were honestly to acknowledge that they let their own economic interests, or their opposition to strong environmental policies, or their belief that we need to be spending far more on the military or some other reason ahead of any commitment to LGBT equality, and on that ground have decided to prefer the anti-LGBT candidate to the supportive one, I would disagree with the values expressed, but would have no complaint about their logic.”

Additionally, Rep. Frank says he was “not surprised that members of the Log Cabin Republicans are offended” by his comparing them to Uncle Tom.

The outspoken lawmaker ended his statement by saying, “Some have complained that in comparing the Log Cabin Republicans to Uncle Tom, I was ignoring the fact that they are nice. I accept the fact that many of them are nice – so was Uncle Tom – but in both cases, they’ve been nice to the wrong people.”

Leaders of national LGBT groups, like the Human Rights Campaign, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and National Stonewall Democrats, distances themselves from Frank’s comments because they had concerns about the language he used. Frank did not address the concerns in his statement.

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After 40 years of absence, dating back to the Vietnam War, ROTC cadets reported to duty before sunrise on September 20 at the elite school. Relations between Harvard and the military were persisting because of DADT. But the school said they would welcome back ROTC, the college program that trains students to be officers in the armed forces, if DADT were repealed. This week, keeping their word, Harvard held its first ROTC campus exercise in 40 years.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “amid the unrest stemming from the Vietnam War and subsequently from policies over gay soldiers, four of the eight Ivy League schools—Harvard, Yale, Brown and Columbia—parted ways with campus ROTC.”

Three Ivies—Harvard, Yale and Columbia—moved to bring ROTC back after DADT repeal. Yale University is holding a “ribbon-cutting” on Sept. 21 to welcome back ROTC. Columbia University is bringing the organization back after 42 years. Later this month, Columbia will open a headquarters for the ROTC that it has built in the student center.

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U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bill Tuesday that would ban same-sex weddings on military bases and allow military chaplains to refuse to officiate such unions.

The bill, called the Military Religious Freedom Act, is an attempt to apply the Defense of Marriage Act to the Department of Defense in the wake of a policy change allowing openly gay men and lesbians in the military, said Inhofe and Wicker.

Current policy is to follow state law on the matter of same-sex marriage.


The first Naval Academy class to graduate after the attacks of 9/11, the Class of 2002, wrote a book together collecting the experiences of 32 graduates.

According to, “In the Shadow of Greatness,” published by the U.S. Naval Institute, was launched Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the attacks that have come to define this latest generation of the military.

The four editors – Joushua Welle, John Ennis, Katherine Kranz and Graham Plaster – graduated from the Naval Academy in 2002.

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Jason Ball, an Australian footballer came out on Monday, and launched a campaign to encourage the Australian Football League (AFL) to show an anti-homophobia ad during their Grand Final – the AFL’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.

Ball told The Sunday Age, “It [AFL] was the one place I never thought I’d be able to come out. Ever. It just felt like a really hostile environment. I worried I’d be bullied, maybe I’d get kicked out of the side, maybe the opposition would treat me differently or I’d get abuse [from supporters] over the fence. I didn’t know any footballers who were gay, so I could only assume the worst, and it scared me.”

Instead, according to, Ball has been met with a positive reaction. Homophobic language in the locker room and on the field has stopped. ”It was like they could see those words have an effect on people because it was hurting me, one of their mates.”

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About Author

Shaun Knittel

Shaun Knittel is an openly gay journalist living in Seattle, WA. He spent 10 years working in U.S. Navy public affairs and is a veteran of the Iraq war and war on terror. His work as a writer, editor, and photographer has appeared in noiZe Magazine, Blog, EDGE Media Network, Rising Republic Magazine, Star & Stripes, and more. Knittel currently serves as the Associate Editor for Seattle Gay News, Seattle's LGBT News & Entertainment weekly, and as the News Editor at OutServe Magazine. See more from this contributor.

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