HRC Blog

Organizing Hoosier “Voices of Honor”

This update on our organizing work in Indiana to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" comes from Jarrod Chlapowski and Adrian Matanza.  Jarrod's report: (l-r) Jarrod Chlapowski, Phil, Adrian Matanza Meet Phil. Phil joined the U.S. Marines in 1975 - two years after the introduction of the all-volunteer force - and served as an 0311 infantryman until 1979. Phil served at Paris Island and Pendleton, spending the middle portion of his service tenure training officers at Quantico. Though he did not serve under DADT, Phil is a testament to the contributions of gay and lesbian service members to national security prior to DADT implementation. Now a bar owner and an Indianapolis community pillar, Phil is committed to do his part in pushing repeal of DADT forward. There over 1,000,000 gay and lesbian veterans -- and even more straight veterans -- eager to engaged in the movement to finally repeal this archaic law. If you are a veteran, are related to a veteran, or have veteran friends, help them get involved and direct them to our DADT clearinghouse website. Writes Adrian: Adrian with Councillor's Sanders and Mansfield After meeting with some veterans, Jarrod and I went to Indiana Equality's second of four 'Love is Equal' dinners. The first dinner was such a success that Jarrod and I couldn't wait for the next one to meet more Hoosiers. Among the guests were County Council Women Joanne Sanders and Angela Mansfield. Councillor Sanders is the Democratic Minority Leader and an International Representative for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). In Las Vegas our community has been supported by IATSE and it was great to have that connection with the Councillor. As an councillor elected at-large, she represents all of Marion County and has been very supportive of the LGBT community. Councillor Mansfield represents Marion county's second district and as councillor, has also been a supporter of the LGBT community. Her son, James, is an active duty Marine currently serving in Quantico. She shared a story in which, while in Iraq, her son was under fire and the position in the tank that he usually occupied was held by his colleague. Unfortunately, that day, his colleague didn't make it. Because of the switch, many of his friends weren't sure who had been hit. Councillor Mansfield openly expressed her and her son's support for repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” She said that the bonds that her son his battalion had were much stronger and that serving openly wouldn't go so far to break them. People like Councillor Mansfield are the Voices of Honor. After the dinner, Jarrod and I headed over to Greg's to meet some veterans and other Hoosiers supportive of repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” The community in Indy is very supportive and many of the people we met last night we deeply affected by the failed policy. I met Nick, an active duty Hoosier, who served in Iraq with his partner. Of course he was very supportive, but was unable to speak out because of the fear of being discharged.

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