Mov­ing be­yond DADT

GA Voice - - LGBT Military -

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

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