On Saturday, the Gay Community Center of Richmond hosts a special screening of “Ask Not” with a question an answer session with representatives from the Human Rights Campaign. The PBS documentary explores the effects of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gay and lesbian soldiers.
This isn’t the first time HRC has focused on Richmond regarding DADT.
Terry McGuire is a field organizer for HRC and will be leading the discussion following the film screening.
“This year in this Congress is the best chance we’ve had.” McGuire said. “Earlier we were interested in getting the support of Senator Jim Webb. Unfortunately, he did not vote for appeal language this year.”
With a vote from the House of Representatives to move forward with repeal, the focus remains on the Senate. In Virginia, that focus has shifted to Senator Mark Warner according to McGuire.
At the event, following discussion, attendees will be encourage to make phone calls and write letters to the Senator to garner his support. To date, HRC has been meeting with Warner’s staff in DC and Roanoke, but without firm commitment.
“I would welcome any commitment out of his office to see that there would be repeal this year,” McGuire says. “The legislation is written in a way that’s very responsible. It allows that study to run its course. It allows for signoff from the Commander in Chief. I don’t think you could write that language any more responsibly.”
McGuire describes tomorrow’s event at “Grass Roots 101” and hopes to engage the community to get involved.
More about the film “Ask Not” from the GCCR:
The film exposes the tangled political battles that led to the discriminatory law and examines the societal shifts that have occurred since its passage in 1993. Current and veteran gay soldiers reveal how “don’t ask, don’t tell” affects them during their tours of duty, as they struggle to maintain a double life, uncertain of whom they can trust. The film also explores how gay veterans and youth organizers are turning to forms of personal activism to overturn the policy. From a national speaking tour of conservative universities to protests at military recruitment offices, these public events question how the U.S. military can claim to represent democracy and freedom while denying one segment of the population the right to serve.
The screening is Saturday, July 17 at 1 p.m. at the Gay Community Center of Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Avenue. Photo credit “Ask Not.”