There I was. Straight LGBT ally trapped in a closet, or rather, backed into a closet.
As DADT seemingly shut down the possibility of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military it also seemed to establish the ridiculous assumption that DADT was a universally accepted and supported piece of legislation among the entire military community. Though the idea of having gays and lesbians serving openly in the military rarely came up in conversations with fellow military families, when it did it was always under the assumption that everyone participating in the conversation was in agreement: it was a horrible idea that would tear apart the fabric of our military.
You know, the usual doom-and-homophobic-gloom.
After a few years of sideways glances and awkward gaps in conversation after sharing my perspectives on DADT and DOMA, I began to back off of speaking out. I started worrying about how my protestations would reflect on my spouse’s career. Even though we both shared the same views, he’s always been more private about his stances on social and political issues. I found myself getting a bit paranoid. As the years passed, I took my outspoken commitment towards advocating for LGBT Rights, packed it up in a box, and shoved it into the back corner of my closet. It only saw the light of day in the privacy and safety of my own home or in trusted circles of friends.
In 2012, I stumbled across the American Military Partner Association on Facebook right before the repeal of DADT. I can’t remember exactly what I read that caught my eye, but what I can tell you is this: AMPA’s advocacy and activism gave me the strength I needed to loudly and proudly proclaim myself as a straight military spouse ally for all of our modern military families.
Around the time I became acquainted fell in love with AMPA, I was in the process of building NextGen MilSpouse, an online magazine I envisioned as the voice of today’s modern military spouse (Coincidence? I think not). I knew that NextGen would be a platform that I could use to bridge the gaps in our extremely diverse military spouse community, namely the one that exists between our straight and LGBT spouses. I immediately reached out to Stephen Peters and pledged my support, resources, Facebook posts, and Tweets to AMPA vowing to myself to never be a silenced ally again. Ever.
Fast forward a year later and I couldn’t be more proud of the progress that AMPA has made and more humbled that NextGen MilSpouse has been able to be a part of sharing in the dialogue. I think we can all agree that we’ve seen a lot of progress this year, but there’s a long road ahead of us. If we’re going to continue on the path ahead we have to do it together- same sex military spouses and straight military spouses.
If you’re an ally, it’s time to step out of the closet and lend your voice to AMPA.
Let’s make 2014 the year of the modern military family.
Adrianna Domingos-Lupher co-founded MSB New Media and launched the first global Military Spouse Bloggers network with Carmen Grant in June 2012. She is the creator of Military Money Chica and currently serves as the editor of NextGen MilSpouse. Adrianna believes that social media has transformed the military spouse experience and that it’s time for brands to pay attention to this largely untapped resource of motivated and eager military spouse social media professionals. When she’s not wrangling her two munchkins or taking over the world from behind the screens, she’s sitting on the couch with a giant mug of coffee trying to figure out what she ought to be doing other than sitting on the couch. Oh, and she secretly loves to fold laundry because it affords her guiltless tv time.