From December 1993 through September 2011, the U.S. military allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve in the armed forces as long as they didn’t disclose their sexual orientation. This policy is commonly referred to as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” or DADT. In other words, military leaders were expected not to inquire about any soldier’s sexual orientation, and gay or lesbian soldiers were expected not to share this part of their identity. The U.S. Congress reconsidered DADT because it denied openly LGBT people the right to serve their country. Since DADT ended in 2011, openly gay and lesbian service men and women have been able to serve.
Teachers can use editorial cartoons to teach social justice issues like DADT. An editorial cartoon uses pictures and text to make a concise statement or opinion about a wide range of topics, such as politics, culture, current events or controversial people.
When teaching about editorial cartoons, encourage students to:
- Look at the picture. Examine the images and text in the cartoon, and describe what you see. Is there anything that looks familiar?
- Look at the BIGGER picture. Think about what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present. What is the artist trying to tell you?