On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, we honor those who have served in the Armed Forces throughout history. It includes many LGBTQ+ Americans—despite the fact that our government spent a number of years trying to keep that a secret. When Bill Clinton was president in 1993 he signed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy into law, allowing these individuals to serve qs long as they didn’t talk about it! This hardly made it OK for LGBTQ+ servicemen and women, it just muddied the waters
Obama repealed that law in 2010—formally ending restrictions on restrictions gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel in the military—but on many levels, it hardly rid the Services of its entrenched homophobia Now there is a new documentary from MSNBC Serving In Secret: Love, Country, And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell ” which traces the history of LGBTQ+ military service and the discrimination that’s plagued it since the beginning.
It features the story of gay couple Tom Carpenter and Courtland “Court’ Hirschi, who bravely share their personal experiences with the military over the years. Tom joined the Naval Academy and, after graduating in 1970, planned to serve as an attack pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps. But then he met and fell deeply in love with Court, immediately realizing he’d have to keep this very important part of his life a secret. Tom knew that, if discovered, it could result in being kicked out of the military with a dishonorable discharge, a court-martial, even jail time—or worse. But the couple’s situation was far from an exception. And so, when DADT was signed into law, Tom dedicated himself to fighting for its repeal.
Also featured in the film are leading voices in politics, historians, civil rights activists, and retired military personnel to tell its story, like Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi, and Pete Buttigieg, who previously joined the U.S. Navy Reserve and even took a leave from his South Bend, Indiana mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan in 2014.
Serving In Secret: Love, Country, And Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which premieres this Veteran’s Day weekend
on MSNBC on Sunday, November 12, and then begins streaming exclusively on Peacock on November 13.