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Members Of The U.S. Military You Need To Remember On The Anniversary Of Don't Ask Don't Tell

Two years ago today, the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was repealed allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly. These are the individuals we have to thank.

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His first television interview following his public coming out:

View this video on YouTube

2. Major Margaret Witt: Filed suit in 2008 with the U.S. District Court in Witt V. Department Of The Air Force after her discharge.

She was an active major in the U.S. Air Force when she was put under investigation for homosexuality in 2006. The following year, she was ordered an honorable discharge.

Dismissed by the district court, the case was heard on appeal and the Ninth Circuit issued its ruling on May 21, 2008. Two years later, District Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that due to Witt's constitutional rights being violated she must be reinstated to the Air Force.


3. Lt. Daniel Choi: Came out on The Rachel Maddow Show in March of 2009 — received a discharge letter shortly after.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

A former American infantry officer in the United States Army, Choi served as an infantry office in Iraq from 2006-2007. He participated in many acts of protest, including two self-chaining protests on the White House fence and a hunger strike.

Choi wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama and the United States Congress. In the letter, he wrote:

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Following the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Choi attended President Obama's signing of the bill.


6. Lt. Josh Seefried: Acted under a pseudonym during his campaign to end the discrimination against LGBT individuals serving openly.

Cindy Ord / Getty Images

On the eve of repeal, Josh revealed his identity after two years of hiding behind a pseudonym for Outserve.


7. Senior Airman Randy Phillips: Came out to his father a few days after DADT was repealed, in what became an instant YouTube viral video.

View this video on YouTube

Thanks to the actions of these individuals, and countless others, we get to see military men and women serve openly and proudly:


Transgender soldiers are still unable to serve openly and can be discharged without voluntary disclosure.

From Kristen Beck becoming the first Navy SEAL to come out as trans, to the announcement by Chelsea Manning that she also is trans — trans military issues have received more attention than ever before.

Learn more about trans individuals serving in the military.