Newsmakers of the Year
BY Advocate.com Editors
December 29 2010 11:45 AM ET
Maj. Margaret Witt and Maj. Mike Almy
We could devote an entire “people of the year” list for to service members and advocates who had the guts to speak up and fight hard against “don’t ask, don’t tell”: advocacy groups like Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Servicemembers United; members of Congress who stood up while others wavered; discharged members of the armed forces who were arrested for taking a stand against bigotry — we are all indebted for their work. And we found two repeal voices quite powerful for their simple resonance: Maj. Margaret Witt (pictured left), an Air Force flight nurse who won her federal lawsuit for reinstatement in September; and Maj. Mike Almy, another decorated Air Force officer who was booted after 13 years of military service when his private emails were searched (on his last day of active duty he was taken off base by a police escort). Almy has filed his own reinstatement suit along with coplaintiffs Staff Sergeant Anthony Loverde and Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight.
Though both Witt and Almy received plenty of media attention, neither is a grandstanding activist. In interviews, Witt is a woman of few words. But the sum of those words is infinitely powerful: I love my work, I love to serve, I just want my job back. Almy took a story of profound personal tragedy and made a compelling case to the country on why this devastating policy needs to end. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that nearly 8 and 10 Americans now support gays serving openly in the armed forces.
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