Segments in this Video

Discharged For Love (03:14)


The gay and lesbian population in the military is uncounted, but according to estimations, it is much larger than most people think. A sailor tells about his friends that were discharged from the military under the homosexual policy.

Gays in Militaries (03:00)

Evidence suggests that homosexuals have served in militaries since as early as 500 BC. Notable figures like Alexander the Great and Richard Lionheart were reportedly homosexual. Military leaders of World War II in America banned homosexual soldiers because they thought they were more likely to become psychological casualties.

Physiology of Endurance (04:09)

Many first time runners gather to make up Team Nova and discuss their training plan to run in the famous Boston Marathon. Three-time marathon winner Uta Pippig will aide the new runners during training.

Overall Cardiovascular Health (07:38)

Scientists and other experts perform tests on the team of newbie runners to determine their current physical health before beginning the training process. Many of the members are technically obese even though they are the ideal body weight.

Marathon Training Begins (10:46)

The runners begin their training process with a two-mile run, which is difficult for some of the more sedentary team members. Betsy is able to rejoin the team after her cardiologist approves her for training.

Does Everyone Have Endurance? (05:06)

After losing Melissa due to multiple stress fractures in her shins, Team Nova gains member Steve DeOssie, a former football player. Biology experts delve into the evolutionary pasts of early humans. The team sets off to run ten miles, which is much longer than most of the team has ever run.

Running Injuries (03:41)

Dr. Malissa Wood explains that how the heart performs during a race depends upon how well the runner has trained and prepared for the event. People who live sedentary lifestyles experience blockages in their arteries.

Diet and Exercise for Weight-Loss (07:30)

The team has already made the required fitness gains they needed during the first several months of training, so now they are running to build up ligaments and soft tissues for endurance. Mental toughness is necessary for runners to endure a marathon. The health data for the trainees has improved drastically.

Day of the Marathon (10:48)

The day of the Boston Marathon has arrived and the non-elite runners of Team Nova await their turn to join in the race. After forty weeks of preparation, the runners begin the race. The presenter talks through the Boston Marathon course explaining it is one of the toughest in the world.

Harassment and SLDN (01:52)

A group called SLDN was founded to assist service members who had been negatively affected by Don't Ask, Don't Tell. People were turned in by their families, their psychiatrists, their best friends, and by their own private writings.

Credits: Marathon Challenge (00:52)

Credits: Marathon Challenge

Missed Translations (02:21)

Allied military forces across the world began allowing openly gay people to serve. After the September 11 attacks, it was revealed that 54 gay linguists were discharged from the American military.

Moral Waivers (03:34)

After 2001, gay discharges began declining in the military. Men were sent into combat even if they claimed to be gay and people were allowed into the military with felonies and drug convictions.

Soldier Spirit (04:10)

Former U.S. Army Major Mike Almy was expelled from the military after his private emails were searched and he was found to be gay. In 2006, Captain Patrick Murphy became the first veteran elected to Congress. He made it his personal mission to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Dropping Bombs (03:15)

Decorated Air Force member Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was told he would likely be kicked out of the military because of his sexuality. He contacted SLDN and appeared on the Rachel Maddow show.

2008 Election (02:06)

Fehrenbach and Almy deeply affected the national debate on gays in the military. In the 2008 election, Senator Obama did not support the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, while Senator McCain did.

Furthering the Movement (02:13)

Murphy discusses President Obama's work to change Don't Ask, Don't Tell, soon after his inauguration. Executive director of SLDN, Aubrey Sarvis, notes differences between the attempt to allow gay rights in the military in 1993 and in 2009.

Senate Hearings (03:26)

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tells how she was inspired to action by former U.S. Army lieutenant Dan Choi. Seventeen years after the initial hearings that led to the DADT policy, Senate hearings are held again.

Calling For Repeal (02:08)

Military leaders decide that repeal is imminent and will begin discussing how best to implement in. McCain is disappointed and waves around a document signed by elderly retired military officers who agree with his belief that gays should not have rights in the military.

Surveying Service Members (02:26)

Jeh Johnson of the Department of Defense describes procedures to investigate the service members' own feelings about integration of gay rights into the military. Questions about privacy were included.

Outserve (02:48)

The nature of DADT makes it difficult to get the opinions of gay service members without exposing their sexuality. A group was created to allow homosexual military members to share their stories without fear of expulsion.

House of Representatives Vote (03:11)

Though the momentum for the repeal of DADT seemed to be certain, in 2010 it came to a halt and Senate votes blocked repeal. Patrick Murphy and other Democrats lost their seats in Congress.

Running Out of Time (04:00)

In the December Senate hearings, McCain faulted the survey that proved over two thirds of the military population was in favor of repealing DADT for not simply asking whether or not they wanted it repealed. Leaders in favor of the repeal note that voting is not part of the procedures for the American military.

Repeal DADT (02:25)

Sarvis came up with an idea to have a standalone bill voted on in Congress. Murphy shares a story about a gay soldier in Iraq who was considering suicide but was holding on to life knowing that Murphy was fighting for him in Congress.

American Values (04:45)

On December 18, 2010, the Senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. President Barack Obama signed the repeal into law. It was officially implemented on September 20th, 2011.

Credits: The Strange History of Don't Ask Don't Tell (01:27)

Credits: The Strange History of Don't Ask Don't Tell

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The Strange History of Don't Ask Don't Tell

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $199.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $299.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



Suspenseful, deeply engaging and heart-wrenching, The Strange History of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell illustrates the tumultuous evolution of a controversial policy which fostered hate and intolerance within the military – and undermined the very freedoms American soldiers fight for – by forcing gay and lesbian soldiers to lie and live in secrecy. In 1993, President Bill Clinton, trying to deliver on his election promise of lifting the ban on gays in the military, encountered vehement opposition that resulted in the compromise legislation, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This 80-minute documentary examines the torturous consequences of the policy and the fight to repeal it – a battle that would last 17 years, span three presidencies, and result in the discharge of 13,368 active service members. Shot during the final 15 months of the law prior to its repeal, the film includes archival news footage and interviews with over 70 key players, from policy experts to Pentagon personnel, as well as personal accounts by a number of actively serving gay soldiers (who are obscured from the camera’s view, as speaking about their sexual orientation would be in violation of Don't Ask, Don’t Tell). An HBO Production. 

Length: 80 minutes

Item#: BVL115036

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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