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Ten Years After Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

September 16, 2021

Reflection by PFLAG National Executive Director Brian K. Bond:

For the years I worked in the White House to help bring an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ I had the privilege of meeting hundreds of courageous servicemembers and their families. Make no mistake. The 18 years of the discriminatory practice of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ are a dark mark on our shared American history. It’s a time when dedicated patriots like Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, Maj. Maggie Witt, and literally thousands upon thousands of others who were willing to give their lives for this country were denied the ability to serve, and many were dishonorably discharged simply for who they are or who they love. 

Standing on the shoulders of so many patriots who fought for repeal, like Col. Grethe Cammermeyer, tens of thousands of patriotic servicemembers who are LGBTQ+ have worn the uniform with pride, honor and integrity for ten years now. PFLAG families have celebrated military weddings of their LGBTQ+ children, just as they have also buried their loved ones with military honors. A proud legacy of repeal are these important milestones, which are owed to every person and military family who chooses to serve our country and defend our freedom.

To fully bring this dark period to an end, we must ensure that the law supports a fully inclusive military. The Biden Administration has taken a first step to extending military service to people who are transgender, and PFLAGers look to Congress to codify these rights into law.




PFLAG is an organization of LGBTQ+ people, parents, families, and allies who work together to create an equitable and inclusive world. We are hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of chapters from coast to coast who are leading with love to support families, educate allies, and advocate for just, equitable, and inclusive legislation and policies. Since our founding in 1973, PFLAG works every day to ensure LGBTQ+ people everywhere are safe, celebrated, empowered and loved. Learn more, find support, donate, and take action at PFLAG.org.

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