HRC Blog

Taking the DADT Repeal Message to Indiana

This post is from Jarrod Chlapowski, a U.S. Army veteran who is working with the Human Rights Campaign on ending the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Having been trained as a Korean linguist and cryptologic voice interceptor, he served in Korea, supporting the 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion on more than 300 sensitive reconnaissance operation missions. Chlapowski chose not to re-enlist in the Army because of the excessive burden of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. indiana-dinnerIt's been a few months since I've last travelled the country to bring attention to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," so it's good to be back in the field and out of the beltway.  And I can think of no better place to start than America's heartland. Yesterday afternoon I arrived in Indianapolis to meet up with Adrian Matanza -- HRC's field organizer who has been working in Indiana -- and immediately we arrived at the first of four 'Love is Equal' dinners held by Indiana Equality at the house of Scott and Caran Keller.  Scott has been a pillar of the Indianapolis community for many years, and as Councilman was responsible for revitilizing downtown Indianapolis and for passing the LGBT inclusive Human Rights Ordinance in 2005.  The dinners are cooked by Scott and provide an opportunity for local community leaders to connect in an informal enviroment. Among the guests at the first night's dinner was Cara, a former medical professional and community leader heavily involved in Soldiers Angels, which primarily creates care packages for soldiers serving overseas. Besides the obvious equality aspects, it is Cara's medical background that has really driven her interest in repeal of DADT. One of the more outrageous aspects of DADT is the constant provider-patient confidentiality violations.  As the law isn't very clear as to what can be considered evidence for discharge, there are many stories of service members being discharged as a result of their commanders being notified of their orientation by a trusted chaplain or psychiatrist.  This is why the AMA came out in support of repeal last fall, and this is why many in the medical community -- including Cara -- find DADT to be incredibly distasteful. Over the next few days, meetings, and dinners, I imagine we'll find many Indiana residents that have a connection to DADT that they may not be aware of.  The consensus among everyone we meet however, is that this law needs to go.  I'm confident with the energy and interest we're seeing and with the help of constituents like Cara, we'll get this done.

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