Arts

Author Mark Gibson Talks About Serving In Silence During The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Era

Former Air Force Captain Mark Gibson shares his story about serving in silence to living authentically.
Former Air Force Captain Mark Gibson shares his story about serving in silence to living authentically.
Credit Claire Reynolds / WABE

Former Air Force captain, Mark Gibson wrote a memoir called “Served in Silence.” It chronicles his 20 years in the military as a gay man serving during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The policy signed by President Bill Clinton allowed homosexual and bisexual servicemen and women to remain in the military, if they didn’t openly talk about their sexual orientation. Gibson still remembers the day as if it were yesterday when the policy was signed into law in 1993.

“I was sitting a keyboard for data entry at the Springfield Military Entrance Processing Station and I just felt a complete sense of calm come over my body,” he said. “I just sat there watching the TV taking it all in, but it was a false sense of calm because the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would soon prove to be such a demoralizing and dehumanizing policy.”

In honor of “National Coming Out” Day, “City Lights” spoke with Gibson about his journey from serving in silence to living authentically.

Gibson retired from the military after serving 20 years, with two deployments to Afghanistan. After his retirement, President Barack Obama officially repealed the policy in 2011. Now, Gibson has reinvented himself into “Mark 2.0” and he speaks across the country empowering people to live authentically.