Aaron Belkin, director of UCSB’s Palm Center, is celebrating the official end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with the imminent release of his new book, How We Won, detailing the sustained campaign to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
Belkin and the Palm Center played the key role of activist scholars in that campaign, detailing how other nations sexually integrated their armed forced without negative consequence. His research also detailed the damage “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” inflicted on the U.S. military, denying the armed services, among other things, skilled Arabic translators at a time such services were desperately needed.
Congresswoman Lois Capps, who cosponsored legislation to repeal the policy, relied heavily upon the Palm Center’s work and opened doors for Belkin on Capitol Hill to get his message across. Capps called the demise of the policy “a good day for equality and a good day for our military,” and praised the Palm Center for its role in bringing this about.