A soldier who served in silence under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has inspired straight former Marine Roger Dean Huffstetler’s incredible op-ed for Washington Post.
Former Sergeant Huffstetler has a unique take on this issue, and his op-ed details how his views on gay marriage and equal rights evolved when he found out many years later that an awesome soldier and friend he served for years with was, in fact, a gay man.
No, I never gay-bashed. I didn’t bully, I didn’t hate, I didn’t torment.
But I did say “fag” to a fellow Marine in front of Sgt. Santiago. I did stay seated in the pew when my minister challenged, “Don’t let anyone tell you that this church is soft on homosexuality.” Silence is a most powerful consent.
I would think: Civil unions, what’s wrong with that? I considered myself “accepting” and “tolerant,” excusing the soft discrimination that’s easy to shrug off, the implicit inequality of separate but equal.
Kudos to Huffstetler for “evolving” on the issue, and let’s hope that his currently serving Armed Forces brothers and sisters are following suit. DADT repeal is just the beginning, and there is a long battle ahead for the equal rights of LGBT people serving in the military. Currently serving as well as veteran allies like Roger Dean Huffstetler are a great start, and we hope this is opening a dialogue among all soldiers in the military today.
NOTE: Rob Smith is an Iraq war veteran and the author of Closets, Combat and Coming Out: Coming Of Age As A Gay Man In The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Army which is available now via Blue Beacon Books from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and wherever LGBT books are sold.