LGBT support group triumphs over Don't Ask, Don't Tell

It’s been said many times in the military, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” — a policy that kept cadets from being questioned about their sexual orientation openly. In 2011, the United States military decided to discard the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and implement an LGBT support group in the military.

Daniel Yockey, contractor and recruiting officer for Weber State University’s ROTC program, said he has found no problem in the military about the LGBT community.

“It sounds like a great program,” Yockey said. “I haven’t seen a difference in numbers at Weber State when it comes to recruitment, but it could change.”

Yockey said cadets “probably” feel less intimidated voicing their opinions in general, as opposed to before the LGBT community was put into action.

“Members of the LGBT community can finally stand up and support their country, while having the country stand up for them as well,” said Josh White, a WSU freshman and member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at WSU. White said he also believes that, with the LGBT community, the number of recruits in the military will stay about the same, but the number of people to “come out of the closet” will grow.

“Being gay no longer prohibits someone to join the Army, but not everyone will join now just because of it, but it won’t deteriorate,” White said.

Other military personnel, LGBT community members and supporters of the LGBT community have similar feelings about the implementation of the LGBT support group in the military, in that the numbers have stayed consistent within the military since the LGBT equal rights movement began,  although it is still illegal for transgender people to join the military.

“It’s interesting, ’cause even though they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, gay people are now allowed to be in the Army, but transgender people cannot join the Army,” White said. “It’s unfortunate, because the transgender community is a big part of the LGBT itself.”

Many hope supporters of gay rights who wish to join the military will do so, in realization that the military is becoming more open to the LGBT community.

“I accept my fellow soldiers for who they are,” said Trae Chappell, WSU sophomore and ranked specialist in the Army. Chappell also said he believes that with “more acceptance comes more people who are willing to be more accepted.”

Even though the LGBT military support group has been around for almost two years, few were aware of it. Awareness is gradually being raised and the LGBT community is acknowledging the military’s efforts to be well-rounded and accepting of soldiers.

According to Chappell, the final straw was thrown when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed.

“To say there won’t be negatives is a high hope, but there will be negatives within some aspects,” Chappell said. “I mean, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell did appeal to some, but it didn’t appeal to those who are considered gay. I feel like this will be more positive, it will build that spirit core in units, and all around it will make gays and lesbians more accepted in our country.”