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Imagine not being able to talk about your girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse with your colleagues — not for a day, but never, as though he or she didn’t exist.

Imagine not being able to display a picture of him or her on your screen saver or in a frame next to your computer. Imagine not being granted emergency leave to be by his or her side or providing medical insurance in the event of illness or crisis; or worse, being told by family members that you cannot visit your loved one in the hospital. These are all ramifications of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I read many of the opinions and articles on “don’t ask, don’t tell” in Stars and Stripes. Those who want to keep the ban sound like classic cases of homophobia. Many of the opinions reflect an attitude and belief toward homosexuality. The same negative attitudes were shared in the past about blacks, Jews and women until they stood up to fight for their civil liberties and equal rights. Gays and lesbians are currently fighting that same battle.

Take away the prefixes “hetero” and “homo” and you’re left with sexual. We’re all human and sexual beings. It should not make any difference if you’re gay or straight. If you believe that sexuality is a preference, I ask, “When did you choose to be heterosexual?” If you believe homosexuality is wrong based on biblical beliefs, you have more of a choice to choose your religion than your sexuality.

I hope that the current U.S. leadership will take the opportunity to educate, respect, honor and embrace diversity to those serving, regardless of sexual orientation, instead of rejecting, embarrassing, dishonoring and treating them inferior.

It’s time to ban “don’t ask, don’t tell,” as it is an injustice on so many levels.

Michael WilgerBagram Air Field, Afghanistan

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