Earlier in July the Blend shared the news that HRC and Servicemembers United were kicking off a national tour to featuring gay, lesbian, and straight service members — “Voices of Honor: A Generation Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It’s making a stop in the western part of NC on August 5.

The national tour highlights the discriminatory law that hurts military readiness and national security while putting American soldiers fighting overseas at risk.  The Charlotte visit will include a public town hall discussion in the evening.  To learn more, visit: www.hrc.org/VoicesOfHonor.

After more than 15 years, many former congressional and senior military leaders who were involved in the construction and implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have recently called for the law to be reviewed or repealed, including former Joint Chiefs Chairmen Gen. John Shalikashvili and Gen. Colin Powell, and former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA).  The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1283), which would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” was introduced in the U.S. House earlier this year.

Passed in 1993, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law allows gay, lesbian and bisexual service personnel to serve in the armed forces as long as their sexual orientation is not publicly disclosed or discovered.  As of 2008, more than 13,000 men and women have been fired from the military because of their sexual orientation, including more than 60 Arabic linguists and nearly 800 other service members in critical occupational fields.

TOWN HALL DETAILS:

WHAT:  Public town hall discussion on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

WHEN:  August 5, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. EST

WHERE:  Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Main Library, Francis Auditorium, 310 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202

WHO:  Town hall to feature remarks from:

Jarrod Chlapowski, a former U.S. Army Korean linguist who opted to not re-enlist because of DADT and is a public policy advocate at the Human Rights Campaign;

Alex Nicholson, a former U.S. Army Human Intelligence Collector discharged under DADT and current executive director of Servicemembers United;

Julianne Sohn, a former public affairs officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Reserve who left the Marine Corps in 2003 due to the strain of serving under the DADT policy. Two years later, Sohn was activated from the Individual Ready Reserve and served for another three years until she was forced to resign her commission under the DADT policy.