Moving beyond DADT
forefront of both their minds as RayShawn’s pregnancy via in vitro fertilization with their son Ace, now almost six months old, was confirmed during their Paris meet-up and documented in a video on their popular YouTube channel, “Our Normal Life Atlanta.”
Baby Ace, although not yet conceived, was a motivating factor in their decision to fight for all of the legal benefits provided to heterosexual families as plaintiffs in the 2014 Georgia class-action gay marriage lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal.
According to Avery, “there is never a dull moment” in their home since Ace’s arrival.
“He is such a blessing,” says RayShawn. “I know they say babies keep you up all night and cry.” “It’s true,” echoed Avery. “But I will take his whining and crying over anything. He has made our bond even closer, especially when Avery returned back from her deployment. For her to come home and experience the second part of our pregnancy together and to experience the birth of our child was wonderful.” Avery’s oath to protect and serve, which she takes very seriously, extends to both the military and the APD. But the silence imposed upon her under DADT and the homophobic epithets heard within earshot is something she’s not likely to forget despite the ban’s repeal.
“Even after (DADT) was repealed, I still didn’t feel comfortable, “says Avery. “Going through my unit and hearing some of the things that people were saying. Yes, it was repealed but you still have to go to work with these people and you know what their true feelings are.”
The repeal of DADT was an important first step, but changing the culture to fully embrace LGBT service members within the armed forces is still a work in progress. Yet, Avery, Broadway-Mack and AMPA remain hopeful.
“Despite DADT being repealed, DOMA no longer an obstacle, and marriage equality now in every state, it is crucial that AMPA remain a voice and advocate for LGBT military families,” says Broadway-Mack.
“All across the country our members are being welcomed with open hearts and open minds, and most importantly are becoming an integral part of the military community.”
May 27, 2016