The Whole 9 Yards: Year in Review

We associate the number nine with extremes: highs (cloud nine), lows (the ninth Psalm, predicting the coming of the Antichrist), good luck and bad. Considering the spectrum of events we lived through in 2010-2011—from the greatest victories to the worst tragedies—the number nine seems a particularly apt symbol for the past twelve months’ happenings. On the plus side, DADT was repealed; on the minus side, a near-apocalyptic disaster devastated Japan. Last year, we opened our Annual Year in Review with the crisis in Haiti, which proves again that life is fragile.


As a candidate, Barack Obama promised LGBT advocates that he would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Clinton-era policy subjecting gay and lesbian soldiers to formal investigation, military prosecution, dishonorable discharge and loss of benefits. For the first two years of his presidency, activists needled Obama for what they considered slow progress towards their mutual goal. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and other veterans groups lobbied Congress relentlessly, slowly turning the tide toward change. In December, Obama finally became the “fierce advocate of gay rights” he pledged to be as a candidate and signed legislation phasing out DADT. And not a moment too soon.

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