Honestly, What Even Is This “DADT Repeal” if Katie Miller Can’t Get Back In?

Forgive the lack of political relevance, but honestly, at this point following the timeline of the DADT repeal has been a lot like following the alien plot in X Files: you feel a revelation coming each episode where someone finds an abandoned boxcar in the desert or a secret cave full of filing cabinets, but then if you take a step back and are honest with yourself you realize it’s season five and you still have no idea what’s going on, and no one else in the show seems to either, and in fact sometimes seems like they’ve forgotten this particular subplot is even happening. The point is, is DADT even repealed? Like a little bit? If so, what does that actually mean? If your feeling is “It seems like that changes every time the question comes up,” you would not be alone in feeling that way!

Although several soldiers have recently had their DADT-related discharges halted in recognition of the fact that the policy is – slowly! – on its way out the door, that appears not to mean that some people aren’t still affected by it. For instance: Out lesbian West Point cadet Katie Miller will not be readmitted, because although she’s in good standing and was in fact class valedictorian before her resignation, she has to wait until the repeal process is completed. Why, exactly? Because the government needs bodies in the army more urgently than it needs cadets at West Point? Because so far the stories of discharges postponed or canceled have all been about men, and female servicemembers aren’t worth making the distinction for? Because there is very little actual consistency around this issue, and most officials seem to be making it up as they go? Who can say? Not Katie Miller!

The military does seem to be taking some concrete steps towards complete repeal; given the level of bureaucracy and approval in triplicate that any decision involves in the military or government, their progress seems in good faith. It seems unlikely that this decision is a result of someone’s personal vendetta against Katie Miller, whom even the person denying her admission describes as having done “exceptionally well academically, militarily and physically.” But at the same time, it’s frustrating that many of the people who have dedicated much of their lives and given over their careers to fighting this policy aren’t yet benefiting from it. I guess no one ever said the military was the one place where life was fair – but in their defense, it is billed as the place where hard work and dedication really will pay off. For Katie Miller, it seems like the payoff will have to wait a little longer.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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25 Comments

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    i may be reading this wrong, but my feeling is a big difference between katie miller & the soldiers whose discharges have been halted is that she “left the academy because she refused to lie about her sexuality”, while they were outed. it’s as though she’s being punished for her gumption & belief in her principles.

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    We finally had the DADT repeal briefing last week. First Sergeant said that once every soldier has been briefed, then Obama is notified and he signs it all official like, and then 60 days after that IT’LL BE OK TO BE GAY. but they keep saying not until then can we be out BUT I DREW A RAINBOW ON MY TAN TEE TO WEAR UNDER MY ACU TOP AND I’M HERE AND QUEER AND GET USED TO IT etc etc. plus all of my cadre knows/doesn’t care. but yeah, this stuff is getting ridiculous.

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    The DADT thing is on a 3 phase training schedule. I’m pretty sure phase 3 is going on now, and all the high up muckety mucks claims things are going well. Phase 3 training should finish in mid summer, so far as I know. Then they write up a status report saying everything is cool, the President and the Secretary of Defense review that report and (in theory) ratify it, and 60 days later DADT is really dead. Everything is on schedule, it’s just a complicated schedule. Just yesterday Obama confirmed that the upcoming change at the Secretary of Defense post (Leon Panetta replacing Gates) wasn’t going to affect DADT repeal.

    As far as Katie Miller goes, I assume it’s just the difference between “Well, we had this administrative process started where we would be kicking you out, which is on hold because the rule is about to change.” vs “We kicked you out (or you left because we were jerks) already, and we can’t let you back in _until_ the rule change takes effect.

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    Our Battalion Commander announced to us last week that we would be getting the training within the month which is good, because I was starting to think maybe they forgot about it. He also said things like “we’ll deal with it” and “soldier through the situation.” He seems like a nice guy, but his phrasing kind of annoyed me. Plus I’m not really sure what he means by soldier through the situation, but oh well.

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    Yeah, just want to chime in with the other people mentioning their battalions…we had our training session a couple weeks ago. For the military, things are actually moving extremely quickly. And not to criticize Katie’s attempt to get back in, but she should have known that West Point’s hands would be tied. Until the military implements repeal, DADT is still active.

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    This is where I talk about The X Files instead of DADT and feel bad.

    Am I likely to destroy my life if I start watching The X Files? Usually when I start watching TV shows it turns into this obsessive pursuit of the ending. I watched three seasons of Skins on Netflix in 7 days. But oh god, nine seasons?!

    There’s this one episode I remember watching and it bothers me that I can’t really remember what it was about. I just remember I was really young and it terrified me. I think it had a little kid who drew creepy monsters and it turned out that the monsters were real.

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    UM HOLY SHIT, I just finished reading this article whilst simultaneously watching Rachel Maddow, as one does, and just as I finished the article and said “wow that is fucked up,” I hear Rachel Maddow say that Katie Miller is about to be on her show and that she has “big news”! So thx Autostraddle team for the background, and now I am holding my breath and waiting for Rachel to say that all is right in the world. /end

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    Aaaaand because everyone is on the edge of their seats since my last comment, I’ll fill you all in and let you know that Katie Miller says she’s not going to try to go back to West Point and is going to finish school at Yale, but she “harbors no resentment” toward the military and she will go back into the military someday. So, uh, this was kind of a letdown. On the plus side, she’s being interviewed on Maddow right now and she has a super cute haircut. So to make myself feel better, I’m going to assume that she is currently scissoring all the ivy league lesbians in the tristate area and that one day she will be a more awesome version of Robert Gates. Winning the future.

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    Like others have said, the process is coming along, the military just takes forever. I did my training a couple months ago, and I know people in other branches who say theirs is moving pretty steadily too. We still get reminded all the time that DADT isn’t gone yet, although I think a lot of people have just stopped caring, myself included.

    (the X-Files reference was so dead on.)

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    President Obama signed the DADT Repeal law on 22 December 2010. Training was broken into 3 levels expected to take about 6 months:

    1. Experts (legal, personnel, chaplains, inspectors, media, medical, etc.)
    2. Leaders (commanders, senior non-commissioned officers, chiefs, civilian supervisors)
    3. Everyone else

    Levels 1 and 2 have already finished training, and Level 3 is well underway.

    Six months is rapid whenever re-training 2.2 million people spread over most of the nations around the globe. It’s especially rapid given that all personnel must be re-trained to do the exact same thing, flawlessly, without complaint. And 6 months is lightning-quick when you remember that this re-training runs counter to both pre-existing social biases and also to ancient religious fanaticism.

    The Pentagon’s many training materials are all excellent. Every course conducted so far has been 100% successful; consequently, there have been zero resignations, and recruiting goals are 100% on target in all branches. Rushing the training in the lowest ranks risks ending up with less than 100% compliance, which would prevent the repeal itself from becoming official 60 days after the last class. Therefore, just be patient, and let it get done correctly, once and for all.

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