HRC Blog

Cadets, Students Stand For DADT Repeal at Virginia Tech

Yesterday, the Virginia Tech and New River Valley communities came together for another leg of the Voices of Honor tour here in Virginia. The event, which was preceded by a campus flag display on Tuesday, brought out over a hundred students and local residents. Volunteers from the Virginia Tech Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Alliance helped install the 800 flags, which symbolized the 800+ specialists with mission-critical skills who have been discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. With the iconic Burruss Hall looming in the background, it was a powerful visual that created a lot of buzz on campus. Virginia Tech is one of only six senior military colleges in the United States, and one of only two major universities to host a senior military college as part of a larger civilian university. The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets are a large and integrated part of the Virginia Tech community, and many civilian and corps students intermingle and socialize. There were a number of cadets in the audience, and those that I spoke to were supportive of repeal. The Q & A portion of the event featured Cindy Mitchell, a local straight ally who served in the Army as a medic. Cindy spoke about how many of her closest friends in the Army were gay and lesbian, and how their sexuality had nothing to do with their ability to work hard and serve their country. She also spoke about the potential for anti-gay medical professionals to abuse “doctor-patient” privileges and “out” service members who are under their care. Cindy, whose husband is still serving, said that in her experience few cared whether a soldier was gay or straight. She stated DADT needs to go because the existing law provides a mechanism for the few remaining homophobic commanding officers to discharge otherwise qualified service members. For more on our work here in the New River Valley – check out this, this, this, and this. I’m off to Roanoke in an hour or so. Tomorrow morning I’m meeting with about a dozen veterans and local repeal supporters for a meeting with Senator Jim Webb’s Roanoke office.

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