This weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a PFLAG Philadelphia meeting with my parents for the first time. This experience not only gave me the opportunity to discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), but also to learn a lot from other attendees in the process.
Parents – from all different walks of life – spoke movingly about how their sons and daughters came out as gay, lesbian, bi or trans – sometimes as early as middle school. It’s certainly a much different world than when I was growing up. Life is still not easy for LGBT youth, but over time we have come a long way. Changing attitudes and growing levels of acceptance only goes to show – as studies and polling have already demonstrated – that kids are coming out younger and younger.
While bullying and other problems remain for LGBT kids, it’s this new generation that’s paving the way for equality. We know from recent studies that young people, who make up most of the military, by and large don’t care about the sexual orientation of their friends, classmates, neighbors, or comrades.
As we eagerly await timely certification, this cultural shift reminds us that our armed forces – like the majority of Americans – are ready for a smooth transition to open service.
04-18-11 By Aaron Tax, SLDN Legal Director |