Gainer to donate his SLDN archive to the Phil Johnson Library
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
Resource Center Dallas will hold a reception on Sept. 20 to mark the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
As part of the event, gay Air Force veteran Dave Guy Gainer will donate his archive of material related to the repeal to the Phil Johnson Library housed at the center.
“I’m reducing the fire load at my house,” Gainer joked.
The donation includes photos, Congressional reports, studies, hand-outs and newspaper articles that fill a number of boxes.
“It’s one of the largest donations we’ve ever gotten from one person,” said Resource Center Dallas Strategic Communications and Programs Manager Rafael McDonnell.
Gainer retired from the Air Force as a chief master sergeant before DADT went into effect. He has served as a board member of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network since 2005.Before that he was chapter president of American Veterans for Equal Rights before becoming regional and then national vice president of that organization.
Gainer called the end of DADT the “beginning of a new era.” He said he hopes his donation will help researchers studying the policy as a piece of history.
He said he has already been contacted several times by students writing papers and theses on the topic of gays serving in the military.
“If we can’t tell our stories as a community, we can’t hope to be truly a part of a bigger society,” Gainer said. “It’s important to give documents like these to research libraries to tell our stories factually.”
The reception at the Resource Center runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
McDonnell said the event would honor not just military personnel that were discharged under the DADT policy but all LGBT veterans.
“We specifically want to get word out to get LGBT vets here to say ‘Thank you for your service,’” McDonnell said.
SLDN is compiling a list of events that will take place around the country on Sept. 20, the day that the repeal becomes final. A number of parties are scheduled around Texas.
Most of the celebrations in the state will take place in bars, and after the Resource Center reception, the party in Dallas will move to Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue.
Houston will mark the day with a celebration at JR.’s Bar and Grill, 808 Pacific Street from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The San Antonio repeal party begins at 6 p.m. at Sparky’s Pub, located at 1416 N. Main St.
The organizer of the Austin event wrote that they “expect active-duty service members will attend from Fort Hood and other nearby installations, along with scores of our supporters. Please bring your friends. Anyone 18 and older may attend.”
The statement is signed by “Brigadier General Virgil A. Richard, United States Army (Ret) and Chaplain (Colonel) Paul W. Dodd, United States Army (Ret).”
Ironically, Austin will mark the first day that military personnel can openly speak about being gay or lesbian at a bar called Hush.
Hush is located down the street from the Capitol at 408 N. Congress St. The event begins at 6 p.m. Food will be served and each person who attends will get a free drink.
P-FLAG El Paso organized that city’s celebration with several local LGBT groups. The party will take place at San Antonio Mining Company, 800 East San Antonio Ave. Cake and champagne will be served.
DADT was enacted in 1993 as compromise legislation. Previously gay and lesbian servicemembers who were outed were given dishonorable discharges. The new law was supposed to end anti-gay witch hunts in the military.
The repeal legislation was passed in December 2010. Then each branch of the service had to certify that it had prepared for the change.
On July 22, after the head of each branch of the service had signed off that it was prepared for the repeal, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president and the secretary of defense certified to the armed services committees of both houses of Congress that the military was ready for final enactment.
According to the legislation, the repeal goes into effect 60 days after certification, which falls on Sept. 20.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.