HBO doc tracks the death of Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- EXCLUSIVE CLIP

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy barring gay people from serving openly in the military, should be history on Sept. 20. That’s when President Obama’s repeal of the law is scheduled to go into effect — and when a documentary on the controversial policy, The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, premieres on HBO. The film, by directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), tracks the 17 years it took to overturn the policy — starting with President Clinton’s signature signing into law in 1993 and ending with Obama’s repeal in Dec. 2010. Along the way, it tells the history of gay people in the military as well as the stories of some of the estimated 60,000 gay and lesbian Americans currently on active duty. HBO will air a sneak preview of the doc from midnight to 1:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 19, and then will premiere the film at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20. You can watch an exclusive clip of it below: 


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  • Alex

    It’s absolutely bewildering that an army would be against accepting people willing to die for their country because they happen to be into the same sex. What century are we living in? There are some people in America who, with all the other stuff going on, seem to think being gay is the worst thing in the world.

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    • satirex

      The problem I always had both with banning gays in the military entirely and with DADT is that the opponents’ reasoning for keeping gays out was that they feared damaging “unit cohesion.” What that means, to put it simply, is that they were afraid some homophobe would cause trouble. But the answer to that would be to courtmartial the troublemaker, not keep gays from serving their country.

  • SH

    You Americans get on the bus late as far as social reform, but you get there eventually. Good day to be gay!

    • LOL

      We still have a long way to go to catch up to the rest of the world. It’s sad that we always have to look to Europe. America likes to thump it’s chest at everyone be we are the joke of the entire world.

      • DRG

        “America likes to thump it’s chest at everyone be we are the joke of the entire world.”

        That’s because we love crap.

      • @LOL

        …or you could simply look North to Canada, where gays and lesbians have been able to serve openly in the military since 1992.

      • sherrip

        Serve what? There forces are practically non-existant, b/c we take care of them, just like we happen to do with pretty much the entire planet. Everyone wants to talk about how behind in the times we are, and what a baby of a country we are, but when thins get messed up in just about every other country, who do they expect to clean it up? Simple, the USA. Whoever wants to serve, fine, appreciate it, but stop ragging on the US when we are constantly covering everyone elses butts!

      • MesoSoup

        u go girl!!!!

      • Mark

        Nobody looks to the US for anything, sherrip. You just get involved. The only time in the last 70 years you’ve justly involved yourselves in any meaningful existing conflict was the Gulf War when you went to the aid of Kuwait.

        Mostly, though, you sit on your hands and watch genocidal dictators kill their own people and then start crap with “communists” or “extremists” with no great cause, like Vietnam or Iraq.

        Even World World II, for which you take far more credit than you deserve, you sat out for years while Hitler took Poland and France. Only when the Japanese stupidly attacked you did you feel the need to help everyone else stop mass genocide.

        Canada doesn’t need your protection because we don’t engender the same response. We sell you oil and have more friends in the international community, and next to you, we’re invisible to the Osamas of the world because we’re not bourish nightmares who blow the trumpet about how great we are. An America hasn’t been great in any social or economic sense in quite some time now.

  • J. Williams

    As a gay person I don’t understand what the big deal is about DADT. It’s pretty much like that at any other job…you shouldn’t bring your personal lives into the workplace. Besides, why would you want people all up in your business like that?

    • Jennifer

      True, I wouldn’t want everyone in on my personal business, but as a hetero I have the freedom to talk about it all I want (if I choose to) and not worry about losing my job. The gay community deserves that same right. Sexual orientation has no bearing on how people perform their dutoes at work.

      • Joe

        Exactly. Take note how many times a day you hear a co-worker say something like “My wife and I went to…” or “My girlfriend told me…”. There is no need to edit when it’s a hetero relationship. Not so for most gay people.

    • LOL

      But at any other job you wouldn’t be fired if they found out you are gay. You don’t exactly have to make it a point to make it other people’s business for them to find out. As for people not bringing their personal life into the workplace…Tell that to all the companies that allow their employees to have baby showers. We spend 8 hours a day/ 5 days a week at work. Your personal life is bound to make an appearance in the workplace.

    • George

      Also at your other job they do not have a task force designed to catch gays in the act. The law is not just do not bring your business up. They actually try to out solders through spying and detectives who follow them. Searching for evidence to prove their gay. It is INSANE and a waste of funding. I know people who were caught by an army detective and were kicked out for that!

    • Amber

      Straight soldiers don’t get discharged and lose pay and benefits if they talk about their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife like LGB soldiers do, that’s why DADT is a big deal

  • Lem

    The only question that needs answered, is, will our military be able to function at its highest level and defeat our enemies. Having never served, I cannot answer that question.

    Comparing our armed forces to any other in the free world is absurd. Others may and do have fine military forces, but none share the same scope and global responsibilities.

    • The Rest Of The World

      Having family & friends in both the British & Australian forces i find comments here typically American: jingoistic & insular “We did it all ourselves” YEAH RIGHT! The U.K & Australia have been in both Iraq & Afghanistan since day 1 and lost many lives, but i doubt most Americans would know or care.

      • Summer

        Here, here! Rest of the world! To quote Ambrose Bierce: “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography”.

      • Woot

        Well I’d like to believe some Americans (such as myself) are aware of this.

    • Will

      Lem, morale will pick up because of the lift of DADT. Now the soldiers can boink and blow each other when they need pick me up. The military just got exponentially hotter!

      • rose

        I spent 20 years in the military there were many gay and lesbian sailors. It was only a big deal when you had a biggot that didn’t like gays in a position of power. My superiors mostly minded their business or made comments but didn’t persue it. We were told don’t ask don’t tell don’t persue so I don’t know what the guy who said they hire people to follow you was talking about. we even had tolerance classes. like I said it depended on where you work and the tolerance level of the command.

      • Zakry

        Sorry Rose, its called the NIS. I can’t believe you served for 20 years and never heard of them. I saw more sailors bounced than I can even count because they were gay. Good men, great at their jobs… but gay, so they had to go? Ridiculous.

  • JRO

    Have served the military for 24 yrs and my spouse has also. Have known many gay and lesbian members and not one has been pursued for DADT over their sexuality. They don’t go around blabbing about it, but neither does anyone else go around talking about their sex life, etc in the work place. That is OUR experience, not to say that others have NOT had that experience. I don’t care if a gay member is serving, I just don’t want them wearing the uniform to participate in gay parades, etc. Just as WE are not allowed to wear the uniform to participate in certain events – only in an OFFICIAL capacity. In other words – there should be no special treatment and everyone is held to the same standard. If that is the case – no problem! =)

  • natalie

    Hi im from Australia and would like to know where i can watch this or when will it air here? I cant find the doc anywhere on the net so im guessing it hasn’t aired yet???

    cheers

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