The first gathering of gay military personnel, after the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevented them from revealing their true sexual orientation, was held in Las Vegas on Oct. 15.
The convention provided an opportunity for gay military personnel on active duty to swap their experiences regarding revealing their secrets, relief, and acceptance, almost four weeks since the policy was officially lifted.
Among those present during the event was Army Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan. She came out to her superior by showing him a photo of her family – her wife, Karen, and their 4-year-old daughter – which she kept hidden in her desk.
Morgan revealed the conversation she had with her superior, an Army colonel who led a 2400-soldier brigade: “I said, ‘Sir, I would like to introduce you to someone. This is my family,’” she shared. Her boss replied: “Charlie, you have a beautiful family. You know, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ prevented me from getting to know you.”
The conference was organized by OutServe, a group that used to be kept under wraps. Around two hundred soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and airmen, who recently came out at work, attended the conference. They all shared something in common: no one had received a reaction that was “worse than a shrug.”
Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried, co-founder of the group, shared: “Out of the 4,500 members we have, we haven’t had any person come to us about one single problem, which is huge, because right before repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ we had tons of problems… But right now, after Sept. 20, there is nothing to relay because everything has been 100 percent positive.”