Now that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal is in motion, a new social networking site for gay servicemembers has come online. But it may still not be safe to post on it.
According to Reuters, creator John McKinnon started Out Military to help gay and lesbian members of the armed forces meet friends and gain a supportive network. However, he says users shouldn't post too much revealing personal information — since the DADT repeal has yet to be fully implemented, they could face repercussions. So far, just over fifty people have joined the site. And one of its main discussion topics on the site is, "When and how do I come out?" Many posters are wary.
Says one, "i do know that there are no provisions for compensation for those kicked out. We'll know more in a couple mos. IMHO. Remember, the assholes of the relgiious right never never never give up." Another adds,
I would wait to come out until DADT is completely gone...will take a few years. But be aware when you come out you will be messed with severely. The Chain of Comand will not be abe to protect you no matter what they say. If you care about your health... Stay in the closet...to be safe. Remember the Republicans are in charge now.
However, another poster says, "The real irony is that being gay would get you minimal harassment in the units I was in as long as you were not in your face about it (and if you were not stupidly in your face about it those harassing you would get a blanket party for being an asshole) , while being atheist was a quick way to getting fucked over" (according to Wikipedia, a blanket party is a form of hazing wherein "the victim is restrained by having a blanket flung over him and held down at the corners while he sleeps, then the remaining members of the group strike him repeatedly with improvised "flails" (a sock or bath towel containing something solid, most commonly a bar of soap)." And, adds one optimist, "I don't think it will be too hard to come out... most of us are already out."
Other discussion threads on Out Military tackle trans issues, bi-curiosity, and how to come out to a partner — the small size of the site means the forums aren't very active thus far, but over time they could grow into a space for LGBT servicemembers to discuss all manner of personal and professional topics. For now, the site is a good reminder that Obama signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal is only the beginning of true acceptance for LGBT members of the military, and that these men and women still have a lot of concerns about their own safety as they serve our country.