"I believe National Coming Out Day is for anyone that is stepping out of the shadows and into their full authentic self." - Mark David Gibson
Proceeds from books sales benefit Rainbow House Coalition, housing solutions for homeless LGBTQ+ youth.
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 After his retirement, President Barack Obama officially repealed the policy in 2011.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.