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In the News: Gay students welcome 'don't ask' repeal
Submitted by matty on Tue, 2012-05-29 09:49
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Gay students at the military service academies are wrapping up the first year in which they no longer had to hide their sexual orientation, benefiting from the end of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that used to bar them from seemingly ordinary activities such as taking their partners openly to graduation events.
For the first time, gay students at the U.S. Naval Academy were able to take a same-sex date to the academy's Ring Dance for third-year midshipmen. The U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., recognized a club for gay students this month. And gay cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point are relieved they no longer have to worry about revealing their sexuality.
Several gay students from the nation's major military academies said the September repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," an 18-year-old legal provision under which gays could serve as long as they didn't openly acknowledge their sexual orientation, meant significant change.
"For the most part, it allows us to be a complete person, as opposed to compartmentalizing our lives into different types of boxes," said newly commissioned Air Force 2nd Lt. Dan Dwyer, who graduated Wednesday from the academy.
West Point held its graduation Saturday, and the Naval Academy's is set for Tuesday.
Official recognition by the Air Force school in May of the social club Spectrum means gay students there won't have to meet underground any more.