DADT repeal crusader Dave Guy-Gainer dies

Posted on 03 Feb 2012 at 12:19pm

Dave Guy-Gainer

Dave Guy-Gainer, who was a leading local advocate for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” died unexpectedly at his home in Forest Hill on Thursday.

Guy-Gainer was 63. A public memorial will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Legacy of Love monument on Cedar Springs Road at Oak Lawn Avenue.

Guy-Gainer, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant who came out after leaving the service, was a member of the board of Equality Texas and a founding board member of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. He worked tirelessly for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He also ran unsuccessfully in 2010 for the City Council in Forest Hill, a small town in Tarrant County south of Fort Worth.

Guy-Gainer was invited to the White House for the DADT repeal legislation signing ceremony.

“Chiefs don’t cry, but the allergens were very high in that room,” Guy-Gainer said later of the ceremony. “You couldn’t help but shed a tear in there. It was just such an overwhelming feeling of weight being lifted and equality finally happening.”

At a DADT repeal party in September 2011 at Resource Center Dallas, he donated boxes of papers releated to DADT to the Phil Johnson Library. Throughout the repeal process, he was the local media contact who made sense of it all.

The circumstances of Guy-Gainer’s death couldn’t immediately be confirmed, but he is believed to have committed suicide.

His partner David Guy said funeral arrangements are pending but there will be a full honor military funeral.

Read statements on Guy-Gainer’s passing from SLDN and Stonewall Democrats below:

SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis released the following statement:

David Guy-Gainer’s death is a crushing and heartbreaking loss for his husband David, his family, for so many loved ones, and for our LGBT community.  Dave was a big and wonderful guy with a huge heart. He gave much more than just his time and money; he gave of himself, putting all his energies into the people and causes he cared about. The SLDN board, Military Advisory Council, and staff are all deeply saddened by Dave’s death, but we will always cherish his invaluable contributions – including the many times he came to Washington to lobby for DADT repeal and the pride he took in speaking up against discrimination of LGBT people.  Dave was simply determined and dedicated to make things better for the next generation, and he did. I am grateful Dave got to see the end of DADT and was able to cheer on proud, young service men and women serving openly without fear of being fired by their country because of who they are.

Stonewall Democrats had this to say:

It is with great sadness and broken heart that I must tell you we lost a local hero in the fight for equality, Chief Master Sargent Dave Gainer, USAF (Ret) AKA “Chief.”

He served his country for 23 years in the Air Force and continued his service to our county to end the policy of banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. He was on the national board of Service Member’s Legal Defense Network and worked on the board for Equality Texas because of his committed belief in equality for ALL. 

CMSgt Gainer was in attendance when President Barack Obama signed the DADT Repeal Act of 2010. When DADT repeal was fully implemented in September 2011, there was a celebration during our SDD General meeting commemorating this event. I never served in the military, but I was proud to be with Veterans straight and gay celebrating that night.

During our event he told us that a new fight was on: to end the Defense of Marriage Act and to ensure that a fully inclusive Employee Non-Discrimination Act not leaving our transgendered brothers & sisters behind both pass.  

He will be missed but his legacy will live on in those that he influenced.

Guy-Gainer appeared a number of times of Lambda Weekly. Listen to his last appearance here. Guy-Gainer is survived by his husband, David Guy, and his daughter, Brie.

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