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Ex-Sailor Fights "Don't Ask Don't Tell" on YouTube


On August 3rd, Jarod McIntosh posted this video on YouTube titled, "My DADT story", which has now gotten almost 60,000 views on the site.

He was referring to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", a policy issued in 1993 by President Clinton that prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." While President Obama has said that he would "work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are," it has yet to be repealed.

Since it was passed, around 13,000 troops have been discharged on DADT. Jarod, 21, is a part of that statistic. He was serving in the U.S. Navy until a month ago, when he brought his cell phone on a restricted submarine. His cell, which happened to have suggestive photos of him and his boyfriend on it, was taken from him and searched. When returned, he was told that he was being discharged not just because of breaking the rules with bringing his cell in a restricted area, but because he was gay.

"My hopes for the video is to make people aware that people are still being discharged because of DADT," he told me over Skype video from his apartment in Saint Marys, Georgia.

"Many people are under the impression that it has been repealed. I also want to bring attention to my case so that I might obtain an honorable discharge (they gave me a general), which means I lose my GI bill and many other benefits I would receive if I had gotten an honorable... I was already out in terms of what the Navy was concerned, I was already out because of this issue. So I took it a step further to let everyone know, because they can't kick me out twice because of the same issue."

In the past, stories like Jarod's might be ignored or thrown in the closet, but because of social networks and sites like YouTube, it's easier than ever before for someone to tell their story, be heard by a friend, follower or thousands and ignite conversation and possibly action.