Details and Insights on Monday’s DADT Protest

On Tuesday, I posted video of a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protest (planned by GetEqual) with an open letter to President Obama. I encourage you to read the letter, but today I’ll be sharing some details from two of the protesters.

As a refresher, here’s video of what happened on April 19, 2010:

Ever since I saw that video, I’ve wondered what happened to the protester that President Obama invited to the stage. Surely she wouldn’t refuse the invitation, right? Right!

Turns out that the protester in question was Zoe Nicholson. Here’s part of what she said on her blog after the event.

Zoe Nicholson before the protest
Zoe Nicholson before the protest
The boom of my voice was enormous. The whole room stopped, including the President. I had never heard myself be so loud. Clearly it would not be drown out by the people in my vicinity who started telling me to shut up. I just kept going. After several repetitions, the President look straight back to me and said, if you have so much to say, then come up here and say it. I said out loud yes, lifted my right hand as if to part the crowd and make my way.

Funny thing, I actually would have been more comfortable on the stage than in the crowd. I was relieved and all my facts were streaming through my mind about what I wanted to tell him. As I made a ten foot advance I felt two men in black suits take my elbows in tow. It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t aggressive just certain, with purpose and they knew that I was not going to resist their about face.

Another of the protesters, Laura Kanter, had this to say on her blog.

Laura Kanter before the protest
Laura Kanter before the protest
I could care less about getting attention; I wish someone else would have stepped up and done this – believe me. It was a very very difficult decision and I was well aware of the consequences. And there are and will be many.

I respect President Obama and I hope he will be re-elected, because he, through his courage, and by standing up, has inspired me to do the same. But he is about to leave the language to repeal DADT out of the defense bill – and then how much longer will our LGBT brothers and sisters have to serve in secrecy or simply be denied the right to serve?

Obama can handle our heckling, but the LGBT youth and others coming to terms with their sexuality are still suffering the slings and arrows of discriminatory policies like DADT that reinforce the idea that being anything other than straight is wrong, bad, evil, less than.

Thanks to all of Monday’s protestors (Laura, Zoe, David John Fleck, Dan Fotou, and Michelle Wright) for speaking out and getting the President’s attention!

(Photos via GetEqual on flickr.)

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3 thoughts on “Details and Insights on Monday’s DADT Protest

  1. Who knew? This is great – and a compassionate perspective on what we did Monday. Thanks so much for your support Matt! Let me know if you want to come along next time!

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