A powerful read that will help us get an insiders look and a play for play fall of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’ Forget about Oprah’s book club people, this is on the top of Accidental Bears book club list! Reading the description of new book had me gripping my seat and sighing with sympathy. Get a hold of this book and take the week off to slowly ready through the rich pages of pure guts and glory! Mike Enders
The military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was still in effect when Air Force 1st Lt. Josh Seefried helped start secret Facebook groups to connect active-duty gay and lesbian soldiers with each other online. Seefried also wrote for many publications — under the pseudonym J.D. Smith — about what it was like to be gay and on active duty in the military.
Seefried’s secret Web network, OutServe, launched a magazine on Sept. 20 — the same day that don’t ask, don’t tell was officially repealed and Seefried outed himself.
On Wednesday’s Fresh Air, Seefried and his partner, Lt. Karl Johnson, a member of the Air Force who blogged anonymously for Time magazine while subject to don’t ask, don’t tell rules, detail their experiences in the military. They also talk about some of the new challenges gay troops face now that they can openly serve.
At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 20, Seefried changed his Twitter picture from a silhouette to a picture of his face. He then tweeted that his name is Josh and that he’s an openly gay member of the U.S. military.
“I was incredibly nervous going into midnight, but after midnight, I started receiving text messages and phone calls of support — more than I ever had thought was possible to get,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “There was a tremendous amount of support, more than I ever could have imagined.”
Seefried, an Air Force Academy graduate, works as a budget analyst at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. A lot of people he works with on base didn’t know he was gay until he publicly announced it. He says the feedback he received afterward — from his commanding officer and from others on his base — was all positive.
“I have not received one single homophobic reaction from the people I work with or back with the people on base,” he says. “I came out in a very public way on Sept. 20, and I still get looks on base like, ‘Aren’t you the kid that was on the news?’ But I had maybe 200 messages in my work email from different people in the Air Force from across the world, either thanking me for what I had done with OutServe or saying it was an inspiration. I haven’t received one negative comment in the last two weeks.” MORE