President Obama has named eight “citizen co-chairs” who will play a significant role in the inaugural events this weekend. Many are individuals who have benefited from the President’s economic and health care reforms, but one in particular is an Air Force pilot who was discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but who worked to repeal that law:
Following in the footsteps of his father and stepfather, David joined the Air Force in March 1996. He was promoted to staff sergeant and graduated as a distinguished graduate from Airman Leadership School. After re-enlisting for another four years, he applied for Air Force ROTC and was selected under the Professional Officer Course – Early Release Program. He was excited to receive a pilot slot but was dis-enrolled for “homosexual conduct” in August 2002 after a fellow cadet told his commanders that he is gay. Following the Air Force, David worked on the successful repeal of DADT through Out Serve – SLDN.
There was a day where it would be profound if a President gave any recognition to a gay man whatsoever. Now, a gay man who works for an LGBT organization and who helped fight an anti-gay law is being featured as a spokesperson for the President’s vision of America. This is an incredibly symbolic milestone for the progress of LGBT equality.