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Since the start of August, 32 gay youth have attempted to enlist in the military as part of the nationwide Right to Serve campaign. All 32 were subsequently denied permission to enlist. In addition, several of the campaign's participants have been barred outright from simply speaking with military recruiters in major cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix.
The campaign, organized by the Minneapolis-based LGBT youth group Soulforce, seeks to provoke a national dialogue regarding the 13-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring military recruits from publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation.The rejected recruits will return to recruiting centers later this fall to stage sit-ins.
The most recent sit-in occurred when three openly gay students from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville appeared at the local recruiting center on Wednesday for their appointments and were then were denied access to the recruiting officer.The students and their allies staged a sit-in that continued until the following day and ended in trespassing charges and two arrests.
Soulforce members will bring the Right to Serve campaign to Tampa, Providence, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Seattle as part of a goal to reach 30 different cities this year. For more information, visit: https://www.righttoserve.org. (The Advocate)