Students involved in the USC lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community reacted with excitement to President Barack Obama signing the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy into law Tuesday.
The policy, signed into action by President Bill Clinton in 1993, prohibited gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Congress initiated the repeal last December when it voted to rescind DADT and was followed by the signing of a certification in late July issuing a 60-day waiting period, which ended today.
Obama said the repeal will not diminish military readiness.
The end of DADT was met with much celebration from the Queer and Allied Student Alliance, which has actively campaigned in favor of the repeal for months.
Vincent Vigil, the director of USC’s LGBT Resource Center, reacted to the news of the repeal with excitement.
“It shows that the country is changing,” Vigil said. “The repeal shows that the country’s and the constituents’ mindset is changing to be more accepting of gays and lesbians.”
Vigil said debate within states regarding same-sex marriage will continue to hinder progress within the LGBT community but, despite these foreseen setbacks, “individuals today feel okay to come out.”
Many students’ reactions have been equally supportive of the repeal.
“Sexual orientation shouldn’t be a major issue in the army,” said Rachel Ragusa, a sophomore majoring in biology. “This is a good step in equalizing. I feel like it’s OK to be whoever you are.”
Trevor Taylor, a freshman majoring in interactive media, said a person’s sexual orientation should not play an inhibiting role in the military.
“If you are laying your life down,” Taylor said. “You shouldn’t care about the guy’s sexuality. It’s just whether or not the guy has your back.”
Jeff Burgett, a sophomore majoring in production, said, although in theory the repeal of DADT is positive, there will continue to be problems of discrimination based on sexual orientation in the military.
“The reason [DADT] was administered was to protect people,” Burgett said. “There is always going to be persecution. But in an ideal world there should be no limitations.”