HRC Blog

Update on Florida DADT Repeal Organizing

Villages Group

Repeal DADT logo-white-600As our work on the repeal of DADT continues in Florida, last Thursday I visited the Rainbow Family and Friends Club at The Villages, one of the country’s largest active retirement communities with over 70,000 residents. The Villages is situated in Central Florida and known to be a very conservative area.  The club was created several years ago to bring together LGBT and allied Village residents and has grown to over 800 members. I accompanied HRC steering committee members Dan Tanner, Diana Iwanski, and Randy Stephens to talk about the work of HRC and how they can be involved at The Villages. Dan gave an excellent “HRC 101” overview, Randy talked about the federal legislative priorities of HRC, such as passage of an inclusive ENDA, Diana gave a membership pitch, and I talked about the repeal of DADT. The members of the Rainbow Family were excited about getting involved -- every one of them signed a postcard to Senator Bill Nelson to ask him to vote to repeal this discriminatory law which has discharged over 13,500 qualified troops and weakened the preparedness of our military. They, also, committed to taking 10 postcards each  to talk to their friends and neighbors about the importance of repealing this destructive and unfair law and get them to sign! The Rainbow Family will follow up with calls to their Florida legislators and hand written letters to let their voices be heard! JK and Diana Villages presentAfter the meeting a small group gathered at the back of the room. When I approached they identified themselves as veterans of the armed services. As I listened to their stories, I was overwhelmed as they expressed their gratitude for the work of HRC and so many others who are fighting to ensure that ALL qualified patriots are allowed to serve our country. They had served in all branches of the military, fought in several wars, and had over 100 years of service between them -- and they were all gay and lesbian. It is for these folks, and the many men and women like them, that we must continue to work for the repeal of DADT! Get active- let your voice be heard!

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