Former Elmendorf NCO escorts Lady GaGa to MTV awards to support DADT repeal
Lady Gaga won 8 MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday, and former Elmendorf AFB staff sergeant David Hall (far right in photo) escorted her to the show, along with three other service members who lost their military careers because of the ban against open service by gays and lesbians, a policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
Lady Gaga spoke in favor of repealing DADT when she accepted her award for Best Female Video for “Bad Romance” and thanked the four “discharged soldiers” who came with her, adding “And thank you to all the gays for remaking this video over and over again.”
Her escorts were former U.S. Air Force Staff Sargent David Hall; former U.S. Air Force Major Mike Almy; top West Point cadet Katie Miller, who resigned in August in protest of DADT; and Former U.S. Army Sargent First Class Stacy Vasquez.
David Hall was a decorated Elmendorf NCO before starting officer training at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and was a top student in the Air Force ROTC. He was dis-enrolled from the ROTC because a female cadet suspected he was having a relationship with Jack Glover, another UAA airman, and told their superior officer. Both men were kicked out because of the DADT policy.
A federal judged ruled DADT unconstitutional last week, but the government is expected to appeal the decision. The U.S. House already passed a repeal of DADT, and the Senate vote is scheduled for next week.
Call your Senators today at 202-224-3121 and urge them to repeal the policy!
Senotor Begich supports repeal, while Sen. Murkowski is undecided. But she voted for the Hate Crimes Act after hearing from Alaskan voters. She lost the GOP nomination and has not announced a write-in campaign, so she might be persuaded to vote for the Defense Budget and the DADT repeal.
In Feb. 2008, KTVA in Anchorage aired a special report on David Hall and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (one of the first videos ever posted on Bent Alaska).
This week, Hall was interviewed by MTV about escorting Lady GaGa to the Video Music Awards:
“We met her before the show last week and told her our stories, and that’s when she said she wanted to do more,” said David Hall, 36, a former member of the Air Force who was booted out in August 2002 after a female cadet told his commander that he was gay and in a relationship. When confronted, Hall said he told his commanding officer he had no comment, but “he took her word for it over mine,” and Hall, a five-year veteran, was discharged.
“We talked to [Gaga] for a bit and she said, ‘It would be great if I could bring you to the VMAs,’ ” he said. A longtime Gaga fan, Hall was ecstatic about the idea, but said it seemed unlikely that they could pull it off on such short notice. But when you’re Lady Gaga and you have 13 VMA nominations, it seems anything is possible.
“I just kept thinking, ‘How can we get this together? Can we do it that fast?’ ” Hall said. “To my surprise, we were able to pull it off.”
Hall and three of his cohorts — Katie Miller, Stacy Vasquez and Mike Almy — ended up walking the white carpet with Gaga and chatting with MTV’s Sway before they took their seats right behind Gaga in the Nokia Theatre in some of the most primo spots in the house.
Hall has been working with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN.org) since 2006, helping the advocacy organization push to have “Don’t Ask” repealed. He said even with all the work he’s been doing for the organization, having Gaga spread the word to her 6 million Twitter followers and millions of VMA viewers was a huge boost.
“I’ve done tons of media over the past four years … but I knew she would reach out to her Little Monsters and tell them about the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask’ on the white carpet and [it would have a huge impact],” he said. “You couldn’t ask for a better person to do it. She’s very genuine. It’s not some ploy to get attention. She really wanted to know about the repeal and why we need to get rid of ‘Don’t Ask.’ ”
… Gaga’s decision to use the VMA platform to publicize the attempt to push the repeal of “Don’t Ask” through — a commitment President Obama made during his campaign and which he has repeatedly said is his goal — came at just the right time, according to Hall.
“The Senate is just coming back and we’re hoping that they will pass something this month,” he said, noting that Democratic control of Congress could possibly be weakened if Republican candidates score key victories in the November elections, which could set the repeal process back once again. “We were telling her that it is very important to speak out on this now,” Hall said of SLDN’s message to Gaga, who paid for the service members to fly out to Los Angeles for the VMAs.
In addition to their swank seats and walk down the carpet, Hall said the organization members met with Gaga as she was prepping for the show earlier in the day Sunday to go over talking points. They also were invited to attend the post-VMA party put on by Gaga’s Interscope Records label, where they chatted with Mother Monster and her actual mother, Cynthia Germanotta.
Hall’s highlight? “She gave us a shout-out during the acceptance for her first award,” he said. “And the interview with Sway on the white carpet … But every time Lady Gaga won, it was great. And when she won Video of the Year, I loved her meat outfit.”
Video: Lady Gaga Introduces Special Guests On VMA White Carpet