A Lecture on DADT

I recently gave a lecture at San Diego State University with my good friend Kristen Kavanaugh, a fellow Marine and former captain, and one of the founders of the Military Acceptance Project. The lecture was the first of their FLUID Lecture Series, which is a public lecture series focusing on the diversity of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex Queer and Ally community.

Author: Matthew

U.S. Marine Corps officer living in North Carolina. The views expressed here are my own, and are in no way intended to represent the United States Marine Corps, Department of Defense or any of its components.

7 thoughts on “A Lecture on DADT”

  1. I’ve been your blog for some time now. not even sure how I got introduced to it but I enjoy the easy, calm manner in which you post. Today I noticed your earlier blog, extreme measures and had fun checking it out. Living in SD, my partner and I have had friends in the corps over the years and it was kinda fun jumping around your old blog and watch you, like them, open up. be well.

  2. Good evening. I’m sitting here in Germany listening to your lecture on YouTube. I just wanted to tell you how inspiring your story is. Certainly you’re going to get a lot of mail from people telling you the same thing. Maybe you will get some other mail as well (I hope not). All my best wishes to you and your family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done for all of us Americans.

  3. Enjoyed the video of both of you sharing your stories. I truly believe this is how we change the world, one person at a time connecting with a personal story such as yours. Taking the mystery and misunderstanding out of a situation. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Bravo, Matthew! You and Kristen make Mommie Dammit very proud. Now that I’ve lived to see the end of DADT, I hope to live to see the day when you no longer have to make that disclaimer. I can’t imagine that a straight marine would have to do so under similar circumstances, on a policy other than DADT, and the hypocrisy of the current political clime that forces you to do so galls me. It is almost as if there were some invisible sign flashed above your head saying, “Yes, I’m a Marine and I’ve risked life and limb in service to my country – but everything I’m about to share with you is offensive to the Military, and they force me to make this disclaimer so that you understand that they do not value me as a human being, that my sacrifices under fire are what’s expected of me as cannon-fodder, and the sacrifices of my loved ones mean nothing.”
    If that is offensive or misled, Matthew, I’m sorry – but it is my honest reaction to the circumstances that force you to have to make that statement. In my jaded eyes it is indicative of a problem within our military structure that has long festered, and has long gone unexamined. Too easily, it seems to me, that the Military blinds itself to the humanity of its members. That in spite of the ceremony, the fancy uniforms, the grand speeches, and the vast array of deadly toys and technological horrors they have to play with – the ultimate toys on their playground are still flesh, blood and bone human beings. The common soldier never forgets it. He or she is reminded of it daily, and never more so than when carrying the broken remains of one of his comrades away from the battleground. As you pointed out so well, our military structure fails both our soldiers and their loved ones when it is time to reintegrate the warrior back into civilian life. The evidence of it is enormous and growing daily – and the political climate that requires that disclaimer is a significant part of the problem.
    Much as I love my brain-damaged children in uniform, much as it twists my heart to watch the return of flag-draped coffins instead of tall and proud boys and girls, and as much as I honor and respect you for your service and dedication I still rage against a Military structure that purposefully creates such a toxic environment. War is a nightmare beyond our understanding unless we have actually been in the thick of it, and the experience is “dehumanizing” (gods!, what an inadequate word) like no other. Perhaps, instead of another $100-million-dollar plastic airplane, the Pentagon should use the same money to send the entire command structure – from the C.I.C to the J.C.S., to everyone from behind a desk wearing officers stripes who hasn’t served in an active combat zone – into the mountains of Afghanistan for a month. Let’s see how well they understand T.B.I. and D.S.S. then, let’s see if – after a minimum of 30 days under fire – they don’t develop a better, more effective means of helping our men and women reintegrate to civilian life. And maybe, just maybe, they’d also come to a better understanding of the added difficulty of the experience for our LGBT warriors.

    Disclaimer: Mommie Dammit has never served in the U.S. military. I loved and lost one who did, and I speak from that perspective.

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