Army Sgt. Darren Manzella thought he would be discharged from the armed forces for stating on the 60 Minute TV program that he was gay since his statement defied the Pentagon, “don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy. He told the TV audience his fellow soldiers knew all about his gay life style and he even showed a home video of him kissing a man. “I thought I would at least be asked about the segment or approached and told I shouldn’t speak to the media again.” Instead, there was silence from Army authorities. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, estimates there are 500 gay soldiers who have openly stated their sexual orientation without being punished. Manzella says he was invited to join the 600 members of an invitation-only MySpace group, “Guys And Gals Like Us” which is for gays. It is estimated about 12,000 members of the military have been discharged since the policy was first announced in 1993.
It is apparent, at a time when soldiers are needed to fight in wars being waged in the Middle East, the armed forces has decided that silence is golden. The policy from day one was ridiculous and only deprived the military of valuable personnel. Let’s hope that no one will be discharged for being who she or he is.