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Ten Years After “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

By Charlotte Robinson, December 22, 2020

President Barack Obama signed the repeal of the military policy known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ten years ago on December 22nd 2010 ending the ban of LGBTQ servicemembers. Brian K. Bond, a member of the Obama-Biden White House staff who worked closely on the repeal (2009-2011) & current Executive Director of PFLAG National stated, “‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was always bad policy. When President Obama signed the repeal 10 years ago, it was the culmination of the combined efforts of scores of former & active duty LGBTQ+ service members whose lives were impacted by this policy, together with LGBTQ+ advocates & allies, congressional champions & leaders in the Department of Defense. It was a bipartisan effort I am proud to have been a part of, recognizing that it was only a step toward a fully inclusive military force. Yet its remnants, specifically anti-transgender policies, continue to affect our military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment & retention. PFLAG’s military families, inclusive of openly LGBTQ+ servicemembers & servicemembers whose children are LGBTQ+ struggle to navigate discrimination -- some having moved to find gender-affirming health care, inclusive education & safe housing.” President-elect Biden has promised he would move to immediately end the ban on transgender military service on the first day of his presidency, an achievable pledge that does not require the support of Congress or the development of any new policy provisions. Aaron Belkin Palm Center’s Director concluded, “We are confident that President-elect Biden will immediately reverse the ban on transgender military service upon taking office. Few actions are as straightforward & as consistent with the president-elect’s values as ending this unnecessary ban that punishes our troops & harms our national security.” 

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