US soldier comes out to father on YouTube as 'don't ask, don't tell' ends

Published Tuesday, 20 September 2011
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Anonymous soldier had recorded his journey to tell friends and family that he is gay in a series of videos before DADT repeal

At midnight eastern time in the US, the "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) law was formally repealed.

The law, which meant military personnel could be dismissed for coming out as gay or lesbian, was overturned by Barack Obama in a signing ceremony on 22 December but did not come into effect until the small hours of Tuesday morning.

In a series of YouTube videos leading up to the repeal, one US soldier based in Germany, who says he has recently been deployed to the Middle East, has come out to his colleagues in stages while remaining publicly anonymous as long as possible.

In August the soldier, who has not named himself, explained that he had created his YouTube channel for people who were "still in the closet" and "hadn't come out yet". It would also push him to tell his friends and family.

"I came to the acceptance that I was gay in the last year and I wanted to do something I would never ever do, which was come out," he said.

Here in his most recent video, posted as DADT was repealed, the soldier phones his father in Alabama to tell him that he is gay. Revealing his face on video for the first time, the soldier begins by asking his father: "Can I tell you something? … Will you love me, period?"

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2011
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