There are many policies that could be extended now to gay servicemembers and their families. That includes issuing ID cards to allow same-sex partners the ability to pick up their children from the day care on base, or use the base commissary. It includes giving us access to equal-opportunity reporting. But military leaders have to know we exist and see that inequality and how that affects us. The military’s foundation is built on treating each other equally, and if our leaders do not know who we are they cannot see the effects of these unjust laws.
This is particularly important for higher-ranking officials who have chosen to not come out. Younger gay troops are hopeful that they can reach the very highest of the military chain of command; but they don’t yet see their lives reflected in those who are already there. This, too, is an issue of leadership and role modeling.