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San Diego celebrates DADT repeal

Several LGBT organizations are hosting community celebrations to commemorate the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Enacted in November 1993, DADT mandates the discharge of openly gay, lesbian or bisexual servicemembers. Since then, 14,000 servicemembers have been discharged. The repeal, which was certified by President Obama July 22, takes effect Sept. 20.

“This is an historic moment in both American and LGBT history,” said Kristen Kavanaugh of the Military Acceptance Project (MAP), a San Diego-based support organization that serves as a resource to anyone interested in learning more about the repeal of DADT.

The first event marks the precise time of that historic moment. Servicemembers United is hosting Countdown To Repeal parties in half a dozen cities across the country, including San Diego. These New Year’s Eve-style celebrations start at 10 p.m. on Sept. 19 with an actual countdown to repeal at midnight. The San Diego event is at Bourbon Street (4612 Park Blvd. in Normal Heights).

“This is the final nail in the coffin for the discriminatory, outdated and harmful Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law. All servicemembers, the U.S. military and the nation will be better off as a result of this long overdue change in policy,” said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United and a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector who was discharged under DADT.

Log on to servicemembers.org for more information.

The first event on Sept. 20 is Freedom to Serve at The San Diego LGBT Community Center (3909 Centre St. in Hillcrest), starting at 6 p.m. The hour-long celebration includes presentations from servicemembers, political representatives, plus San Diego’s Michael Magee and retired Col. Stewart Bornhoft, both with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Light refreshments will be available.

“We’re having a small program that focuses on the servicemembers themselves – those that have served so bravely, but in silence,” said Denise Serrano, public affairs coordinator for The Center.

Freedom to Serve is being presented by The Center, SLDN, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), San Diego Pride, Equality California, Get Equal and DOD Federal Globe.

“Truly, this is a collaborative effort to give people an opportunity to come (and) to celebrate,” Serrano said, adding the short presentation allows attendees to also participate in other celebrations going on that night.

For more information, contact Denise Serrano at dserrano@thecentersd.org or 619-692-2077, Ext. 103.

At 6:30 p.m., the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego host An Evening of Service with Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher at the 94th Aero Squadron (8885 Balboa Ave. in Kearny Mesa).

“We celebrate the official certification of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the role that our lawsuit played in making this day possible,” the club said on its invitation. “As a part of this celebration, we turn our attention to looking forward to the future of America’s Finest City.”

As part of the event, which is scheduled until 9:30 p.m., Fletcher is to share his vision for San Diego’s future. He is a candidate for San Diego mayor and this is the second in a series of talks with the mayoral candidates.

There is a suggested donation of $20. Proceeds benefit the continuation of a Log Cabin Republican lawsuit aimed to help in the recovery of those wronged by DADT and to give them a clear path back to service.

MAP hosts Salute at Bourbon Street (4612 Park Blvd. in Normal Heights), 7-10 p.m. Salute includes appearances by special guests, formal recognition of LGBT servicemembers and veterans, MAP Salute Awards as well as food, drinks and free giveaways.

“We want to celebrate this important date and, more importantly, honor the thousands of LGBT servicemembers who have served our country,” Kavanaugh said.

In addition to recognizing and thanking all LGBT servicemembers and allies, MAP plans to recognize a few distinguished servicemembers with the Salute Award.

Community members are encouraged to participate by creating and submitting online videos thanking LGBT servicemembers for their service.

For more information, visit militaryacceptanceproject.org.



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Posted by on Sep 15, 2011. Filed under Around the City. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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