Gay Star News takes a look back at the year since President Obama allowed gay men and women to serve openly
A year ago, on 20 September, President Barack Obama allowed gay members of the armed forces to serve openly and honestly without fear of repercussion.
With one swipe of a pen, thousands of gay men and women had their lives changed.
Gay Star News decided to take a look at six great moments since the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed.
The photo that went around the world.
The picture that showed US Marine Brandon Morgan leaping into the arms of his boyfriend Dalan Wells became a symbol of the post-DADT military.
On 26 February, Morgan said: ‘We didn’t do this to get famous, or something like that. We did this [because] after three deployments and four years knowing each other, we finally told each other how we felt.’
A gay US marine, discharged under DADT, returned home from Afghanistan to find a boyfriend on one knee and proposed to him at his base in San Diego.
One of the first proposals on a military base, Cory Huston and Avarice Guerrero led the way for many more couples to celebrate their love.
In July, a gay couple became the first to have a civil union in a US military base, an act unthinkable nine months before.
In their vows, Will Behrens said: ‘I never met anyone that it was worth giving it all up for, until I met you. I give you my heart, my faith. I choose you today – forever and a day.’
Erwynn Umali told his partner: ‘I’m trying to keep my military composure.
‘Just like I would fight for my country and sacrifice for it, and even die for my country as a member of the Air Force, I would do all of that for you.
‘You are my last love, forever and a day.’
A picture of a gay pride flag flying on a US military base went viral, not only because of the powerful statement, but because people were wondering whether it was real.
A woman named Nicole Jodice posted the picture on Wipe Out Homophobia’s Facebook wall on 24 March with a message that read: ‘Hubbie in Afghanistan raising a gay pride flag.’
She denied it was doctored, and thanked people for their support.
Charlie Morgan, 47, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and underwent a double mastectomy and several rounds of chemotherapy to save her life.
For fear of being discharged after 17 years of service for being gay, she also had to keep her civil union with her partner Karen and 5-year-old daughter a secret for 14 years. Morgan and her wife also had to buy health insurance at full cost.
Now Morgan is allowed to serve openly, she says the repeal of DADT has changed her life.
‘I would definitely say this last year has been amazing,’ she said. ‘Most of us never felt we’d see this.’
It is what countries like Australia and United Kingdom have been telling the United States for years, being openly gay does not affect the military.
According to the first academic study, it found having openly gay and lesbian personnel had not damaged military morale, recruitment, retention in any way.
It also said trust and cohesion has actually improved, showing honesty is truly the best policy.