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Blackmailed under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Courage and OutServe team up on “Testimony”

DADT trial Videos

by Andy Kelley
New Media Organizer, Courage Campaign

Over the past few weeks, we’ve stepped up our efforts to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” partnering with Rep. Patrick Murphy, VoteVets.org, our friends at SLDN, reaching out to empower veterans to speak in support of lifting the ban on lesbian and gay Americans serving openly in our armed forces.

Today, Courage is proud to be partnering with OutServe, an underground network of more than 1,200 active-duty gay and lesbian members of the military, in launching the latest iteration of the Testimony website to amplify the voices of veterans and active duty service members, both gay and straight, calling on Congress to end DADT.

Please read the following message from OutServe member Jd Smith on the power of these stories to change hearts and minds, and to move Congress to action. Then visit our Testimony website to watch the videos and share these stories with your friends.


In the last few weeks, 69,360 Americans — including 12,462 veterans and their families — have signed Rep. Patrick Murphy’s Courage Campaign petition to Senate leaders. We followed that up by launching an advertising campaign on military web sites sending John McCain and Republicans a message that veterans and their families support the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

On Tuesday, the long-awaited Pentagon survey of active-duty servicemembers will be released, followed by Senate hearings on Thursday and Friday featuring testimony from military leadership. That’s why we’re bringing you this important message from Jd Smith (name anonymized), an active-duty servicemember who recently helped launch OutServe, an underground network of more than 1,200 active-duty gay and lesbian members of the military. Please read his compelling story below.

Rick Jacobs
Chair, Courage Campaign

 

Dear Friend –

A few months ago, I was blackmailed under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

Some people who knew that I was gay — and serving in the military — tried to use it against me to get what they wanted. After years of serving my country, I couldn’t take it any longer.  

So I started talking with fellow gay and lesbian servicemembers and we decided to take action. Over the past few months, we’ve organized Outserve — the largest network of active duty gay and lesbian servicemembers ever assembled. Using hidden social media, we are all connected, we can see each other, communicate with each other, and most importantly, support each other.

In the last few months, Outserve has created 27 chapters around the globe, with more than 1,200 members. We are as diverse as the military and our country as a whole. We are among those serving right now in Iraq and Afghanistan. And like all who wear the uniform proudly, we are united by an unflinching commitment to give our lives, if necessary, in service to our country.

Now, with the Senate set to consider repeal of DADT in early December, we — gay and straight veterans alike — are speaking with one voice. We’re in this fight together and, together, we’re going to finally put an end to a failed policy that hurts our military, undermines the trust our troops need on the battlefield, and contradicts the values that generations of veterans have fought and died to defend.

With the support of the Courage Campaign’s “Testimony” project, we have uploaded several videos from both gay and straight veterans and servicemembers sharing their thoughts about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Will you watch these videos now, share them with your friends and — if you are a veteran — upload a  video of your own?

For years, I have served openly as a gay servicemember in the ranks. Most of my straight brothers and sisters in arms have been nothing but supportive. In fact, they are the ones I owe for saving my career under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

When I came under investigation under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” it was my straight fellow servicemembers who came to my aid. It was my straight colleagues who saved me from being discharged.

While elimination of DADT is supported by President Obama, Defense Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, majorities in both houses of Congress, and 78% of the American people, Senator John McCain has threatened a filibuster. He says he wants to hear from our troops and their families. We are going to make sure he does.

Veterans know that DADT is bad for our military — especially in a time of war — and America needs to hear their stories. Before the Senate begins its deliberations, you can help ensure the politicians hear the truth about this failed policy.  Will you watch these videos now, share them with your friends and — if you are a veteran — upload a  video of your own?

http://www.couragecampaign.org/Testimony

Thank you for your support. At the end of the day, we are all in this fight together.

Jd Smith
(Anonymous name)

58 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Kathleen  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Nice partnership

  • 2. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Love the Anonymous name ; )

  • 3. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    It's helps to select the checkbox's!

  • 4. Ann S.  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:14 am

  • 5. Rhie  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:20 am

    Wow.

  • 6. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:23 am

    What was Judge Stephen Reinhardt's part in the Arizonans for Official English case?

  • 7. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:23 am

    whoops, this was supposed to go in the other Post.

  • 8. Ray in MA  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I hope their voices and stories are heard by those who can turn it around.

  • 9. Ronnie  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Repeal it….NOW!!!!!!…. =

    <3…Ronnie

  • 10. Alan E.  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Some people who knew that I was gay — and serving in the military — tried to use it against me to get what they wanted.

    But DADT is working as intended according to McCain!

  • 11. Sagesse  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:28 am

    √ now to watch later.

  • 12. Richard A. Jernigan  |  November 29, 2010 at 11:14 am

    DADT has to fall, and it has to fall NOW! As a Navy veteran, and the husband of an Air Force veteran who served in-country during Vietnam, DADT is a SHANDA! It goes against everything our military stands for!

  • 13. JonT  |  November 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  • 14. Bob  |  November 29, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    woot woot, to those service members that were creative in finding a way to connect with each other, for support, and to , find a way to create a human story , to the issue,

    finally a voice for active LGBT service members and alllies, never underestimate the power of allies, especially in this situation, I knew you'd find a way, thank you for stepping up.

  • 15. Sagesse  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Don't ask, don't tell
    http://live.washingtonpost.com/don%27t-ask,-don%2

    "Tim Haggerty, a contributor to the original Rand study that resulted in the adaption of the policy currently known as 'Don't ask, don't tell' and a policy analyst and historian whose research examines the social impact of wartime service, will be online Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. ET to discuss 'Don't ask, don't tell" and today's release of the Pentagon report on how ending the ban on gays in the military might impact troop readiness and morale.

    Haggerty currently directs the Humanities Scholars Program at Carnegie Mellon University."

  • 16. Sagesse  |  November 29, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    'Don't ask, don't tell' report set for release
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/federal-eye/2010

    "The report is expected to be released around midday, according to sources. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and the report's co-authors, Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham, will meet with reporters shortly after its release."

  • 17. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    !!!

  • 18. Menergy  |  November 30, 2010 at 12:44 am

    I'm on tenterhooks, myself…..I wonder, too, if there'll be cries from the opposition that "they haven't read it (the report)"! Like the ObamaCare bill. I hope these leaders are better prepared for discussion. I truly hope for repeal and dismantling of the myths and bigoted, unfounded opinions and stances of the conservatives in this country and the military itself.

  • 19. bJason  |  November 30, 2010 at 12:51 am

    The first of these videos (the one "captured" above) does not play.

    That being said, my unending gratitude to and support of ALL our service members and their families for their sacrifice to this nation cannot be put into words.

  • 20. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Some chaplains are concerned about not being able to openly discriminate against homosexuals if DADT is repealed. I am not feeling too much sorrow for them!

    Army chaplains oppose DADT repeal on religious speech grounds

    “[T]he proposed ‘non-discrimination’ law may effectively ban chaplains from expressing their religious beliefs on homosexual behavior,” they wrote. “The affects of this ban would be felt keenly within a chaplain’s religious duties, but it would extend outside the pulpit, too. Since chaplains are tasked with teaching classes in moral leadership and ethics both on armed forces bases and at branch schools, such censorship would prevent them from providing the full moral instruction their faith background gives them.”

    Gary McCaleb, senior council of The Alliance Defense Fund, told The Daily Caller that one of the most concerning elements of DADT repeal is the threat that chaplains will be charged with discrimination. According to McCaleb, the official acceptance of homosexual behavior can only be enforced through a nondiscrimination policy, which will infringe upon the ability of chaplains to preach, and, if chaplains do preach against homosexual behavior, it will likely result in reprimand.

    “The chaplains who will speak as a matter of religious faith and morality that homosexual behavior is wrong are obviously not going to be complying with the nondiscrimination policy that affirms homosexual behavior,” McCaleb said.

    Full Story: http://dailycaller.com/2010/11/30/army-chaplains-

  • 21. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:25 am

    First openly gay priest elected bishop says it all right here:

    As Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson — the first openly gay priest elected bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion — has pointed out, policies “designed to preserve and protect the free exercise of religion in the military and would remain in effect after the repeal” of the policy. “No Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Christian or Orthodox Jewish chaplain would have to change her or his beliefs about homosexuality. If any gay or lesbian servicemembers went to one of these chaplains, they would still receive the counseling against homosexuality they have always received. What they wouldn’t receive is a discharge from their military service for being gay and speaking about it,” he writes.

    Quoted from: Pryor Says Homosexuality Is A ‘Sin,’ Echoes Hate Group In Explaining Opposition To DADT Repeal

    Full Story: http://wonkroom.thinkprogress.org/2010/11/30/pryo

  • 22. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:27 am

    This is hope!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2UPXdvOLB0

  • 23. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:32 am

    And then there is Jeckle and Hyde McCain and being called out on his statements.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7TGwPAtH8g

  • 24. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Lady Gaga Puts Senators On Notice Over DADT Repeal

    Singer Lady Gaga has put Senators on notice over repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.

    A Senate panel will hold hearings this week on a Pentagon report on repeal of the law before the measure moves to the Senate floor for a vote. That report, which includes a survey that found a majority of troops unopposed to repeal, will be released Tuesday.

    Seated on an overstuffed sofa and wearing giant sunglasses, the pop singer puts senators on notice.

    “Senators you have been put on notice by me and by the people of this country,” Lady Gaga says in the 2-minute, black-and-white clip. “You said you would debate and address this law when the Pentagon returned with a strategy and tomorrow morning you will have it. Will you keep your word?”

    The Alejandro singer adds that the law “reinforces discrimination,” which is partially responsible for an alarming gay teen suicide rate.

    “Kids are being led to believe that it's OK to hate and condemn based on our differences. And this recent horrific news of gay suicides is really proof of our social repression and ultimately government repression that is killing our youth.”

    Story: http://www.ontopmag.com/article.aspx?id=6986&amp;…

  • 25. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:42 am

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McEbJPuLUIw

  • 26. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:45 am

    U.S. Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis & 27 of her LGBT colleagues & Labor Dept. employees say "It Gets Better"

    <3…Ronnie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW8rRHmDx3Q&fe

  • 27. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:47 am

    ‎& here is the message from Secretary Solis & her colleagues in spanish……

    <3…Ronnie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yciLs73vaIs&fe

  • 28. Steve  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:47 am

    The RAND study didn't contribute to DADT. It was completely ignored because it came to the conclusion that there is no reason for the ban.

  • 29. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:48 am

    lol….LLB…I was just going to post this….great minds..great minds…I <3 you

    ; ) ….Ronnie

  • 30. Steve  |  November 30, 2010 at 1:49 am

    What "non-discrimination law"? There won't be one.

    And the less said about those moronic chaplains the better.

  • 31. Sagesse  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Agreed. Which is why his point of view should be instructive. It will also be interesting to see how much of the DADT working group report the Senators choose to ignore in the debate, if it suits their purpose. Politicians can ignore inconvenient facts, if they choose.

  • 32. Sagesse  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Actually, this doesn't get discussed much, but there could well be an executive order mandating non-discrimination, as Truman did, once DADT is repealed.

    Others more knowledgeable than me, feel free to chime in.

  • 33. grod  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:11 am

    @Steve
    (a friendly observation0
    Why not direct this comment to the Post and be on line at 2:30 today to ensure this observation is made early on. No doubt others will make the same but why rely on others. G

  • 34. grod  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:18 am

    @ Lesbians Love Boies
    Canadian chaplains have been dealing with no distinction re sexual orientation for almost twenty years. American chaplains can ask them how to do business.

  • 35. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Here is an interview with Jonathan Hopkins, a spokesman for Outserve speaking about the Pentagon report with Tamron Hall from NSNBC…..

    I love how she thanks him for her service to this country at the end….you see & hear that McCain?…that is how you treat you soldiers who risk their lives for this country…..<3…Ronnie:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhB9qR7Ltvk&fe

  • 36. anonygrl  |  November 30, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Quite frankly, no matter WHAT their personal beliefs are, if an army chaplain were to tell a gay soldier who came to him or her for comfort that homosexuality is a sin, they should be ashamed of themselves. I would think the primary job of anyone in that position would be to HELP the person you are counselling, not to make them feel worse about themselves. And if a chaplain felt he or she was not equal to the task of helping someone with a different set of beliefs, they should look long and hard at their own career choices, and instead consider a job outside the military, working with a congregation who you would assume is actually there with the same basic beliefs.

    The chaplain should be there to help soldiers, not to proscelytize their own brand of religion.

    Just my opinion.

  • 37. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:11 am

    this Virginian needs a 'sign'. I for one am getting sick of this homosexual agenda and am going to start calling it the haterosexual agenda!

    Virginia: Elected official says TSA pat downs part of 'homosexual agenda'

    Eugene Delgaudio is an elected official on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. He is also President of Public Advocate of the United States.

    Delgaudio writes for the Public Advocate, a conservative, non-profit organization.

    A widely distributed e-mail written by Delgaudio for the Public Advocate about TSA, claims the pat downs are part of a "Homosexual Agenda." And he criticizes TSA's non-discrimination hiring policy.

    "It's the federal employee's version of the Gay Bill of Special Rights… That means the next TSA official that gives you an 'enhanced pat down' could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission," Delgaudio wrote.

    Full Story: http://www.rgj.com/article/20101130/NEWS12/101130

  • 38. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Yep! all over the news!!! Thanks Sagesse!!! Take that McCain!

  • 39. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:14 am

    So NOM doesn't want to be called a hate group, yeah?….then why do the allow a known advocate of murder & violence towards LGBT people as well as a supporter of the Uganda Genocide Bill to post on their page? ….I have screenshots of this Leroy Solomon threatening to kill Gay people all over Facebook….new demonizing anti-gay rhetoric on their Protect Marriage Facebook page….

    Leroy Solomon "It seems like even some Republicans are catering to the homosexuals these days. When I look at the brainwashed youth of the nation it's hard to say if the radical gay agenda can be stopped. I fear that the Supreme Court will force Gay Marriage down the throats of every state. In the South and Midwest, people don't want the gay agenda but might get it anyways. Homesexuality has destroyed nations (see Greece and Rome). Strong cultures like the Russians, Africans, Middle Easterners, Asians, and the Poles don't put up with it (and I don't blame them)."

    (me) Interesting….A) The Supreme Court did the same with Interracial Marriage…it was not wanted by the majority of the country….get a fraking education……B) Hmmmmm….he mentions all the places where it is illegal to be LGBT & either punishable by death or imprisonment….IS THAT WHAT YOU SUPPORT NOM?!

    wait there is more…..

    Leroy Solomon "The radical gay agenda is essencially one of infiltration & corruption, leading to immorality, when you reflect on it, the amount of gay politicians, law makers, media types is shocking.

    It is entirely (un) natural that thesehomosexuals will push their own agenda. God made it clear that He does not permit homosexuality. It is not a special condition deserving of special praise and protection, like so many people in today's society think, but an offense against His design for humanity.

    Essentially, the gay is an agenda of supremacy. Not all homosexuals are radical homosexuals, but all radical homosexuals support the basic definition of their agenda I've mentioned in the past, and it is a dangerous quest they are on, boding ill for any civilization that accepts an unnatural and disordered behavior as "normal".

    If folks would think with their heads and not their soft hearts, they'd see the obvious."

    (me) what part does NOM not understand…That "God: is NOT the law in America & there is NO law that says ALL American have to follow their Fascist un-American theocratic beliefs & definitions?…… I thought NOM was only about stopping LGBT from get married….& didn't view LGBT people as "not natural" & "not normal"…..what does that have to do with Marriage?….

    The rest of the thread goes on to call LGBT perverts, reprobates, immoral, unrepentant ….blah blah blah…um…NOM what does that have to do with Marriage?….I'll give you a hint….NOTHING…You hate Gay people….that is all about LGBT people as individuals and has nothing to with marriage….you are Fascist un-American PIGS!!!!!!!!…….<3…Ronnie

  • 40. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

    Yup, their version of a modern day witchhunt…all wrapped up with a little bow on top in their attempt to make it 'pretty' – FAIL NOM.

  • 41. Leo  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

    I'll be waiting with bated breath for McCaleb to call for enactment of similar laws to protect chaplains' ability to preach against premarital sex.

  • 42. Cat  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:24 am

    This is true homophobia.

    A phobia is an irrational, intense and persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, animals, or people.

    Fits quite well to Eugene Delgaudio, me thinks. I wonder if the voices in his head told him about the homosexual agenda.

  • 43. Steve  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Have you read Truman's executive order? They'd only need to add "sexual orientation" (and these days gender) to the list and it could still be used.

  • 44. Steve  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Indeed. Chaplains already have to serve a very diverse community. They already must serve people of different faiths and believes. The idea that they are there to preach their particular set of religion is complete nonsense.

    If they have some personal issue with a soldier who comes to them for help, they can refer them to someone else who can provide help.

  • 45. Bill  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Off topic, but very interesting reading. Ed Whelan, wingnut that he is, is ALREADY slamming the Ninth Circuit judges for the Prop 8 appeal.

    Even before the proceedings. How ridiculous???? The hearing hasn't even taken place yet, and he's criticizing the judges???????? Oy vey.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/253999/

  • 46. Cat  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:32 am

    The NOM agenda:
    1. Fill coffers
    2. Spread hate against gays
    3. Cover tracks using every trick in the book

  • 47. Bill  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:37 am

    …and another one from Ed Whelan, demanding that Judge Stephen Reinhardt disqualify himself.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/254123/

  • 48. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Ha if that were the case then Justice Thomas would have to recuse himself from almost every case. And other SC Justices for that matter. Can we also go back through cases and make sure some are overturned?

  • 49. Lesbians Love Boies  |  November 30, 2010 at 4:12 am

    Here is a new one
    http://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/254136/

  • 50. Gregory in Salt Lake  |  November 30, 2010 at 4:16 am

    WOW!! essential video..Thanks LLB and THANK YOU ANDERSON COOPER!!!

  • 51. rockteer500  |  November 30, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Cat— you forgot #4.

    4. Repeat #1

  • 52. Steve  |  November 30, 2010 at 4:35 am

    American Christianity is infinitely more radical than in other countries. So much that's kind of it's own religion in some ways.

    That's compounded by the fact that the vast majority of US military chaplains come from conservative or fundamentalist Protestant churches.

  • 53. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 4:39 am

    Secretary Gates & Admiral Mullen will be discussing the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” study live at 2:00 PM eastern….here is the link……<3…Ronnie:
    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/watch-pentag

  • 54. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 5:14 am

    GATES SAYS PASS IT!!!!!….

    DO ASK DO TELL…REPEAL THIS LAW OR HEAR US YELL!!!!….EQUALITY NOW!!!!

    <3….Ronnie

  • 55. Ronnie  |  November 30, 2010 at 5:45 am

    The Pentagon report can be found here……<3….Ronnie:
    http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0610_ga

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