life in my hood with 2 teenagers, a toddler and chronic pain

don’t ask, don’t tell? May 28, 2009

I just put my 3 1/2 year old to bed.  She was chanting “What do we want? Civil Rights! When do we want it? NOW!”  Crazy, right?

She doesn’t know the meaning of those words and it is my deepest hope that long before she has her own children, there will be no need for rallying cries such as this. But until that day, the chant must be repeated loudly and clearly across our nation and across our world. An hour ago, my family returned from a demonstration, one that was organized very last minute, in response to both the disturbing decision by the California Supreme Court and the firing of Lt. Dan Choi for publicly coming out of the closet. Lt. Dan, as many were calling him tonight, was there to speak, passionately and from his heart about knowing first hand how important it is to fight for the right to love.  As simple as that. This man spoke, and many listened as he put it so clearly. This man who has risked his very life for this country is fighting the battle of his life for the simple right that so many of us take for granted. I don’t agree with war and I have never understood a person who would choose a life in the military, but this man, this strong man, this eloquent man, who has become a symbol for a movement to which he has been drafted, showed me the true meaning tonight of the words “courage” and “hero.”


Lt. Dan

Lt. Dan



This afternoon, I told my children that I wanted to attend this rally and that I wanted them to go too. I wanted them to understand what it means to be a part of something bigger than one’s self. We went, and my husband met us there and we held signs and took pictures and chanted and listened. And my children felt the energy that is created when many voices come together as one. I told my children after, that the reason I wanted them to go is that I want them to be able to tell their children what it feels like to be the change they want to see in the world. I told them that I hope that their children will ask them with confusion how it was that homosexuals could not marry, could not be afforded the same rights to love and live and die for their country-that their children will not be able to even imagine this world.

Here’s the thing. I was going to write a funny piece about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” life of a mom. How as long as you don’t ask me if my beds are made, I won’t tell you that they aren’t. As long as you don’t ask me when I last showered, I won’t tell you. As long as you don’t ask me if the kids had cereal for dinner, I won’t tell you. We all walk around with our dirty little secrets and an unwritten code that we won’t ask the real questions and we won’t expect the real answers. BUT, after going to this rally, after listening to Lt. Choi speak of the necessity to deny his very being in order to keep his job, a job that so many Americans consider heroic, my dirty little secrets seem insignificant, not even worthy of mention. To live your entire life as a lie-don’t ask me if I am gay and I won’t tell you, is incomprehensible to me.

There are so many problems that we as a country and a world face-the environment, the economy, healthcare, disease, education-that it is entirely mind boggling that we even need to spend our resources to fight for a basic human right. Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, Lt. Dan and another young man whose name I did not get, spoke of these things and we listened and we replied and we shouted and we told our children that we must pick our battles and when we do, we must fight for them with everything we have. I grew up in a time when, in certain places, people of color could not drink at the same water fountain as white people. Last November, we elected an African American man to the highest office in our land. Yesterday that very same man nominated a Latina woman to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Times have changed. Times are changing.

It is time to change don’t ask, don’t tell. It is time to ask. It is time to tell. 




nufced?–not sure


3 Responses to “don’t ask, don’t tell?”

  1. kim Says:

    I love this post & I mostly love that you took your children. They will remember it and hopefully carry with them a lifelong feeling of “I can change thing. I can make a difference.”
    Good for you!!!!

  2. mothahhood Says:

    Thanks, Kim! I feel like I rambled, but I was just so full of emotion that I just needed to get my words out.

    • Roxy Says:

      I loved your piece, it was so well written
      I have to ask Cristina about the case though
      I was up there on the day he was supposed to report
      and we had passed a banner on the fwy
      (condemning him, of course, we were on the fwy where it cuts through Ft Lewis)
      but she had made a comment about how she supported what he stood of, but he could have gone about it differently to exact a more favorable outcome
      I don’t remember much more of the conversation
      She was either deploying or returning from deployment
      and all I could think about was her

      this is what she had written in an instant message from An Nazaria

      Hay mami,

      I was writing something

      And what is it worth, the life of a human?

      Let’s quantify the value of the years of time to one man.
      I don’t know what it is,
      Or what it mght be
      But there’s something dying slowly inside of me.

      I can’t say for sure
      These things that I want
      But one thing I know
      Are the things that they are not.

      Every choice that I make
      Be it wrong, be it right,
      Are decisions of mine
      For which I will fight.

      The way of living, of which I defend
      Will be my great battle
      My fight ’til the end.
      A warrior, a soldier, a member of a team
      Awake in a lucid, surrealist dream.

      I wish you were here, mom
      To help me stay strong
      “Cause in this great battle, my rights are all wrong
      I don’t know for sure
      How to end this disgrace
      The mistakes of my leaders shoved hard in my face.

      SGT Cristina Correa-Barron on her redeployment to the Middle East July 2006

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