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Mich. LGBT community prepares for death of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

At midnight Sept. 20, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law prohibiting openly gay lesbian and bisexual Americans from serving in the U.S. military will end.

“September 20 is a historic day for our service members and our country,” said Navy veteran and Equality Michigan Executive Director Denise Brogan-Kator. “Every service member should be treated with fairness and respect in the work environment. This repeal is long overdue – gay service members have always been a part of our military. We are grateful that the federal government has finally offered the respect and dignity that service members should have had long ago.”

While the repeal of DADT will allow lesbians, gays and bisexuals to serve openly, transgender persons will still be prohibited from serving because of other policies in the military which identify transgender people as unfit for duty. The law was repealed nearly a year ago by action of the Congress, but implementation was delayed until the service chiefs, the secretary of defense and the president signed off on the military’s preparations for repeal.

“We are frustrated that the military still fires some members of our community simply because of who they are,” said Brogan-Kator. “Transgender people continue to serve our country and we need to address this harmful ban.”

To recognize the end of the law, LGBT communities across the country will be holding celebrations.

“The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is an historic milestone along the journey to achieving LGBT equality in America’s military, and Tuesday is a monumental day for our service members and our nation. Through these events taking place in every state across the country, we will pay tribute to their service and sacrifice as we look forward to this new era of military service – an era that honors the contributions of all qualified Americans who have served and wish to serve,” said Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.

In Michigan, there will be an event in Lansing Monday night at Sir Pizza in Old Town from 10:30 p.m. until midnight sponsored by the Lansing Association for Human Rights. Also on Monday night, students at Eastern Michigan University will celebrate the end of the law as part of their regular meeting. In Ann Arbor, the celebration will happen Tuesday night into Wednesday at the Necto Night Club.

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