Kris Tobin lives in St. Petersburg and served in the Navy for 23 years. Today she shares her story as Don't Ask Don't Tell is officially repealed.
The military was and is my life.
At eight I told my mom I wanted to join the Navy, and when I came home from the recruiting office at seventeen it wasn't a problem getting her to sign the papers.
Soon after that I left for boot camp in Orlando. I could not have known for the next 23 years my service in the Navy would be made more difficult by this simple fact: I am gay.
I do not profess to be an expert on the legalities and nuances of Don't Ask Don't Tell, but I know a policy intended to allow gay members to serve quietly actually gave license to those with strongly homophobic voices to be heard and permitted; there was no discrimination policy in that regard.
We used to joke everyday when our keycards and badges still worked that they hadn't found us out yet. But the truth is that not being able to acknowledge who you really are has a terrible effect on someone.
One of the biggest costs of DADT was the emotional impact. I won't forget one summer when I was turned in. Someone on our rec league team was discharged for being gay, and in the process our coach turned the whole team in. The coach's list included people who were gay, straight -- and even her own sister.
I got lucky and wasn't discharged, but my experience with DADT makes me certain that our country will be better served putting our time, focus and money into defending everyone from those who wish us harm instead of worrying about who someone might love at the end of the day.
I'm thrilled President Obama made sure service members won't be burdened by the broken DADT policy any longer, and I'm happy for their families and loved ones.
My time in the service made me who I am and I wouldn't trade that for anything.
Like I said, the military is my life and I am proud of that.
Today Americans are sharing what the end of DADT means to them. Click here and share what it means to you.