HRC’s Eric Alva Speaks about DADT and Obama’s Defense of Policy

HRC’s Eric Alva Speaks about DADT and Obama’s Defense of Policy

October 17, 2010 DADT Featured 3

"We Will Not Be Silent." Don't Ask Don't Tell ("DADT")Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva (Ret.) was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq when, on March 21, 2003, while traveling to Basra, he stepped on a land mine.  In 2006, Sgt. Alva began working with the Human Rights Campaign, the “largest” LGBT Rights organization, to speak out against the military’s now (but likely temporarily) halted “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (DADT). He now tours nationally for the organization and continues to lecture about DADT.

On Friday, October 15, 2010, just days after a Federal Judge ordered an injunction against enforcement of the unconstitutional policy, the Gay and Lesbian Association of San Antonio College hosted a lecture by Sgt. Alva as part of their Coming Out Week events.

Sgt. Alva began his lecture by discussing his tenure in the military and its abrupt and tragic end, with the triggering of the land mine.  He went on to explain that, after his medical discharge, he contacted the HRC to find out how he can work with them to educate and inspire a repeal of DADT.  Not only did his lecture included his personal experiences working toward a repeal, but he also used the opportunity to address the division within the LGBT community, stating that he never refers to us as a “community,” but instead prefers to refer to us as a “populace” because of our varied lifestyles, opinions, culture, etc.

It is very likely that the Department of Justice will appeal the lower court’s decision to the 9th circuit in an effort to halt a judicial repeal of the policy.  If such appeal is perfected, it means that the Obama Administration is attempting to keep the policy in place, rather than repeal it as has been stated by Obama to be his goal.  You can read more about that issue, here, including discussion of other cases which were not appealed by the justice department.

Sgt. Alva, in addressing the recent injunction, Obama’s appeal of the decision and the fact that Obama has continued to refuse to sign an executive order ending the policy, stated, “I do not want Obama to sign an executive order, ending don’t ask, don’t tell.”  He went on to explain that, if the president chose to end the policy it would put an end to the discussions; discussions he believes are important in light of the recent and highly publicized LGBT youth suicides.

DADT has been the policy of the United States Military for approximately 17 years.  Prior to implementation of the policy, the military’s policy was simply, you can’t serve if you’re gay.

Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva was the first American wounded in the war in Iraq. On March 21, 2003
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3 Responses

  1. Kaleb says:

    I wonder how Sgt. Alva would feel about continuing the "discussion" if he were dishonorably discharged or discharged for:

    1. failing to obey any lawful general order or regulation
    2. having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or
    3. is derelict in the performance of his duties

    Knowing that his pension is safe because of a medical discharge instead of DADT certainly allows him to continue the discussion.

    But…this is what we have learned to expect from HRC.

  2. Jude says:

    Too bad Sgt. Alva didn't explain how further discussion is a benefit. Wouldn't ending the discharges send a message to our youth that we are ending discrimination? Ending DADT will end the national conversation and teen suicide and bullying? Hardly. These teens are not in the military.

    He certainly deserves our respect for serving for country. But I can't say that I agree with his version of LGBT activism. We are supposed to push for rights.

    • Kaleb says:

      Have you heard about the highly decorated Canadian Air Force colonel, Russel Williams (

      Just because someome serves their country does not mean their motives are honorable. Deserving respect is something that must remain constant and present. Sgt Alva has about as much of my respect as the rest of HRC. It's not to say, there is nothing left…but only to point out the need for skepticism.

      And while the comparison may seem extreme, discrimination is responsible for the multitudes of deaths experienced throught the LGBT community; worldwide. It's a shame that our deaths are promoted by our government and excused out of respect for those who serve.

      Sgt Alva's comments are not only ignorant but also affirm a certain sense of guilt when it comes to the promotion of our continued plight.

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