Lady Gaga Brings DADT Discharges to VMAs, Is a Dreamer, Is Not the Only One

My but this has been an exciting roller coaster of largely unforeseen DADT-related events! First there was the ruling in Riverside that DADT is unconstitutional, which will probably not be the last word on DADT but is certainly encouraging. Today, two more stories seem specifically designed to keep our minds on this bizarre national drama, and to support our desperate hope that someday this pointless and shameful chapter in America’s history can be closed. The first one obviously has to do with Lady Gaga – as you are probably already aware if you own a television or Twitter account, Lady Gaga’s escort to the Video Music Awards was a group of four American soldiers who had been discharged under DADT, including lesbian West Point cadet Katie Miller.

Aside from looking remarkably fierce, these four soldiers guaranteed that dozens of cameras and millions of eyes were on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and that America had to take thirty seconds off from thinking about Kanye and Taylor Swift to think about, you know, the people who defend our country’s right to hold a million-dollar event centered around music videos. (@advocate)

Also in the vein of drawing public attention to the issue, former Major Margaret Witt is suing the military for reinstatement to the Air Force, also basing her case on an argument of DADT’s unconstitutionality. Her discharge and subsequent lawsuit began in 2004; the case goes to federal trial on Monday. Several of her former colleagues plan to testify that Witt was highly competent and qualified, and that it was her discharge that lowered morale in the unit, not her sexual orientation. She also has declarations from 19 former and current members of her unit that confirm that her being a lesbian has not impacted their ability to do their jobs.

In response, the Justice Department has written that “Those co-workers are not military commanders, and the military cannot operate by a unit referendum process in which disciplinary policies and outcomes are determined by the individual opinions of a few unit members.” While the chain of command is clearly pretty important in the military, I think they’ve lost me on this one. Is the point of DADT not that it improves “military readiness” by allowing soldiers to do their jobs without being impacted by their colleague’s homosexuality? If so, isn’t that really based almost entirely on “the individual opinions of a few unit members?” (@ap)

Neither of these things will turn the tide on DADT; the Department of Justice will probably still defend it in court, and the Pentagon will still probably slog through its poorly structured, highly biased, and ultimately confusing “survey” of how soldiers and their families feel about a repeal. But even the military is subject to a certain amount of public scrutiny and popular pressure, and I don’t see any way that more visibility for those it impacts can be a bad thing.

Oh also, back to Lady Gaga, she won like a billion awards, including Video of the Year, Best Pop Video and Best Female Video. So probably we will also win everything else soon.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books as well as news and politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel currently lives in Michigan. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 736 articles for us.

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    This makes me like Lady GaGa, who I don’t usually like…
    (yes I am a terrible, terrible lesbian!! But Lucas Silveira from The Cliks did a good cover of Poker Face- does that make it any better!!)
    I like that she is NICE and has FEELINGS!!!! Which oh so many people fail at doing/having, it always surprises me that these non feeling people exist….hmmmm??

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      I totally didn’t understand the “meat-dress” thing, until today when I saw a picture of it (not surprisingly on AS)… Sorry Gaga, unfortunately my fondness of you died as quickly as it bloomed… although it was fun while it lasted, I just feel like we are growing in different directions

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    “In response, the Justice Department has written that ‘Those co-workers are not military commanders, and the military cannot operate by a unit referendum process in which disciplinary policies and outcomes are determined by the individual opinions of a few unit members.’”

    Um…Isn’t that what this whole DADT survey thing was about? Determining military policy following an assessment of the opinions of unit members?

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    FOUR special friends? FOUR? Why you gotta be so greedy?

    Lady Gaga: from abstinence to military polyamory in a single bound. While wearing a meat dress.

    I want the lady in white. SHE LOOKS SO SERIOUS.

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