Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Douglas Wilson

The Defense Department's assistant secretary for public affairs, Douglas Wilson is the first openly gay man to serve in that position. His duties include being a principal adviser to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on public information and community relations. He was instrumental in implementing last month’s repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Wilson had a direct role in bringing about the repeal of DADT because he served on the executive committee for the Repeal Implementation Team.

Some quotes from Wilson that appeared in a July interview in Advocate magazine. He talks about an "outreach session" at Fort Hood, conducted as part of research on the repeal's effects:

I never believed that repeal of DADT was not going to happen. When I was at Ft. Hood we visited a tank crew. The purpose of that visit was to show how close quarters were in tanks, and how difficult it would be for gay and straight troops to serve together.

After we viewed the cramped tank interior, the four-man crew lined up in front of it, and I said, “You all have served together several years.” And they said, “Yes, we’ve been together a long time.” I continued, “What happens if ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is repealed and one of you told the others that he was gay? What would you do?”

And person by person they gave surprising answers. The first soldier said, “Well, my brother’s gay, so it doesn’t matter.” The second said, “Well, you know, I had so many high school friends who are gay. It doesn’t matter.” To each of them, it didn’t matter. And the last one said, “What does matters is that if this thing is burning, I want someone to be able to pull me out, and I don’t care what his sexual orientation is.”

That’s when I knew repeal would happen.

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