Despite what Mark Thompson thinks, I am no flying monkey. Like most things in my life I am associating tomorrow’s impending lift of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to something pilot-related. Right now I’m running the starting-engines checklist and making sure my systems are all good before liftoff. The day after my debut flight in the C-17, President Obama signed into law the repeal of the ban on open service for gays in the military. In a very real way that time symbolized a turning point for both my professional and personal life.
On the military side it was the beginning of my career flying $200 million cargo jets, and simultaneously it set into motion a series of events which ultimately lead to me writing for TIME’s Battleland under the pseudonym “Officer X”. Tomorrow is the start of a new chapter in the lives of gay Americans everywhere. The way I understand it, as the calendar day rolls over each new time zone to 20 Sep, the dark shroud of DADT will lift like a curtain. I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say our boys serving away from their families in Asia and the Middle East deserve this more than anyone.
– Officer X is a young, gay military officer who is currently serving on active duty despite the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on open service. He is a pilot and regularly flies throughout the world both in and out of combat. His views are his alone and do not reflect the opinions of the U.S. military, its branches, or any organization. Follow him on Twitter @TIMEOfficerX or email him TIMEOfficerX@gmail.com