Tylerite, former Airman, reacts to repeal of DADT - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Tylerite, former Airman, reacts to repeal of DADT

By Lauren Callahan

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A Tyler man who was dishonorably discharged from the Air Force in 1994 for being gay said that Tuesday's repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that allowed gays to serve in the military was "an idea whose time had come."

Troy Carlyle served as a pilot in the Air Force for nine years, rising to the rank of captain. In 1992, the Air Force found out he might be gay—even though Carlyle was still living in the closet—and began a thorough and, Carlyle says, humiliating investigation into his life.

"The whole thing just felt very much like a betrayal—a betrayal of everything I'd been taught and a betrayal of the people I'd worked with," Carlyle said.

During this time, President Clinton ordered the military to allow gays and lesbians to be able to serve openly. The military refused, and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was born.

"The way it was presented to us was a kinder gentler military ban," Carlyle said. "It was, after all, considered a compromise between a military that didn't want to have gays in it and a president who said you will have gays in it."

For Carlyle, though, the policy came months too late. He was already under investigation, and was dishonorably discharged in 1994.

"It kind of shocked me into the importance of being out and of making change and getting rid of things like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," he said. "And the fact that human beings deserve human rights. And there should be no exceptions to that."

Carlyle moved to Tyler in 2006, and is the chair of Project TAG (Tyler Area Gays). He says the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal will be good for the military.

"For me, it just makes me feel better," he said. "Makes me feel like some of the work that I've been doing for the last ten years has maybe been for something."

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