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Tenth Anniversary Retrospective
2006 - 2016

There are shops that can proudly claim to have been in business since 1916 or something like that.  Proudly proclaiming ten years of existence, on the other hand, is perhaps a bit presumptuous.  But, when it comes to our rights as Gay Americans, there has never been a more dramatic progressive time in our history.  Just about every bit of that can be attributed to the leadership of President Barack Obama.  When Gay Military Signal was founded in the summer of 2006, proud patriotic gay American service members were still being booted out of our armed forces simply because of who we are.  While some could marry, official recognition of our love was still a dream in most places, with rights and benefits being denied with prejudice.  Now, we can be both proud of our service and of who we are and marry anywhere in America.

And if the promise is kept, starting this month, transgender patriots will be able to serve openly in pride alongside other courageous American volunteers.  Will it happen?  In the week between Christmas and New Years, a Pentagon based reporter from a major news service phoned me and asked about that.  Imagine.  I said, "You're inside the Pentagon and you're asking ME?!"  I slapped my forehead so hard I nearly knocked myself silly.  We discussed some of the old bogeyman issues: showers, toilets, room sharing, etc.  I said that if our service members are not mature enough to calmly deal with our American diversity, then they are not mature enough to hold a gun, drive a weaponized armored vehicle, steer a nuclear submarine, fire a missile from a drone, or even wear an American uniform.  We can and will do it, I assured her.

But, don't sit back on you ass for a second and think that the battle is over!  This is just the end of the beginning of our battle for full equality.  There's an entire political party that wants to reverse all the progress of the past 50 years or more, not just for gay folks but for all Americans.  They want to role back rights, starting with the right to vote, equal pay for women and reproductive rights,  minimum wages for workers, the right of all Americans to walk down our streets without being shot, the right to healthcare, marriage equality and the right to serve, and the right to live in this nation free of discrimination, among the basic rights envisioned by the founders of this nation.

They want to convince ordinary straight poor working folks to be willing to let their children starve for the privilege of prejudice. There are all kinds of folks who've bought into this hatemongering fantasy along with those who think a gun in every kitchen is better than a chicken in every pot.  Be careful what you wish for.

There are young LGBT folks who have never experienced having to hide who they are, thank Obama.  They believe in their freedom, some oblivious of our history of  struggle.  We had no rights ten minutes before they were born, and we could loose all of it starting ten months from now.  Speak up, speak out, and vote for your life.

In this retrospective anniversary issue we look back at some of our greatest fallen heroes, that we have written about in the past ten years; starting with PFC Frank Kameny, interviewed in 2006, who fought in WWII in the battle of the bulge, through the heart of Germany, and ending the war liberating Czechoslovakia.  He earned a chest full of medals, but proudly only wore his simple Combat Infantry Badge wherever he went for the next 50 years of his life.  He went on to found and lead the modern movement for gay liberation.  He died on National Coming Out Day in 2011.  This past Veterans Day, a monument honoring his service and life was installed in a ceremony at the Congressional Cemetery, next to the grave of our Vietnam hero Tech Sgt Leonard Matlovich, whom we also remember in this issue.  In a monumental understatement, Kameny humbly began his interview with Gay Military Signal saying, "There isn't much to tell, I was just and ordinary soldier."

 

Published in 2008
Our Whole Self
And Whole Story:
Honoring My Friend and Hero
Major Alan G. Rogers

By Tony Smith


Major Alan Rogers; Photo: US Army

http://www.gaymilitarysignal.com/
0804Rogers.html

Published in 2008
Pride Month Memories

Leonard Matlovich: an Inconvenient Hero
by Denny Meyer


Leonard Matlovich 1980s Denny Meyer 2008

Published in 2006

An Ordinary Soldier
PFC Franklin Kameny
World War II Veteran


by Denny Meyer

Published in 2011

A Meaningful Life
by
Lori Wilfahrt

http://www.gaymilitarysignal.com/
1104Wilfahrt.html

2016 GayMilitarySignal