Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights

Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights

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Overview

Tell: Love, Defiance, and the Military Trial at the Tipping Point for Gay Rights by Major Margaret Witt

In 1993 Margie Witt, a young Air Force nurse, was chosen as the face of the Air Force’s “Cross into the Blue” recruitment campaign. This was also the year that President Clinton’s plan for gays to serve openly in the military was quashed by an obdurate Congress, resulting in the blandly cynical political compromise known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Contrary to its intent, DADT had the perverse effect of making it harder for gay servicemen and -women to fight expulsion. Over the next seventeen years more than 13,000 gay soldiers, sailors, marines, coast guard, and airmen and -women were removed from military service. That is, until Margie Witt’s landmark case put a stop to it.

Tell is the riveting story of Major Margaret Witt’s dedicated and decorated military career as a frontline flight nurse, and of her love and devotion to her partner—now wife—Laurie Johnson. Tell captures the tension and drama of the politically charged legal battle that led to the congressional repeal of the controversial law and helped pave the way for a suite of landmark political and legal victories for gay rights. Tell is a testament to the power of love to transform hearts and minds, as well as a celebration of the indomitable spirit of Major Witt, her wife Laurie, her dedicated legal team, and the brave men and women who came forward to testify on her behalf in a historic federal trial.

“The name Margaret Witt may join the canon of US civil rights pioneers.” —Guardian

“Major Witt’s trial provided an unparalleled opportunity to attack the central premise of [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] . . . and set an important precedent.”— New York Times

“A landmark ruling.”—Politico

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611688429
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,232,847
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

MAJOR MARGARET WITT is a decorated twenty-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force who made history in 2010 with her successful challenge of the notorious Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, which prohibited known gays and lesbians from serving in the U.S. military. She is currently a rehabilitation supervisor for the Portland VA Health Care System in Portland, Oregon. TIM CONNOR is an investigative reporter specializing in legal and science journalism. He lives in Washington State.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer
Homecoming
Young Ms. Everything
Crossing into the Blue, Part I
Crossing into the Blue, Part II
Flights of the Nightingale
Love and Lilac City
Halloween
The Scarlet Letter
Meeting Major Torem
When Lawyers Are a Girl’s Best Friends
Silver Wings
“Major Witt Is Gay”
A Sojourn to Langley
The Wilderness
The Witt Standard
Obi Wan Obama
Outing Goliath
True Stories
The Last Days of Summer
An Exemplary Officer
Heard
Epilogue: Out of the Blue
Acknowledgments
Notes and Sources
Index

What People are Saying About This

Lillian Faderman

“Margaret Witt made history. . . . Tell is the inspiring story of the remarkable grit and courage that have made her a true American hero.”

Marc Solomon

“Margaret Witt’s moving and inspirational story of how she took on the US military and won is a powerful testament to how regular people can help achieve extraordinary results. Witt gives the reader a poignant insider’s perspective on the legal case that was crucial in building momentum to send Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to the dustbin of this country’s history.”

Politico

“A landmark ruling.”

Bob Dotson

“You may not know her name, but Margaret Witt is one of those seemingly ordinary Americans whose persistence changed the country’s culture. Her determination will help many who serve this country live better lives. Read her story. Tell others. What she’s done speaks for itself.”

The Guardian

“The name Margaret Witt may join the canon of US civil rights pioneers.”

Former secretary of defense Robert M. Gates

“This discussion [of Major Witt’s case] formed the backdrop of. . . my first in-depth discussion of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell with President Obama.”

New York Times

“Major Witt’s trial provided an unparalleled opportunity to attack the central premise of [Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell] . . . and set an important precedent.”

Ryan Berg

“Few people get to actually witness history and fewer still are fundamental in making it happen. Major Margaret Witt has managed to do both. Tell reminds us that now more than ever we must learn to care for each other across differences within our communities, especially when those in power attempt to diminish us.”

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