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By Mvelase Peppetta
Afghanistan As Told via Hipstamatic (650 x 327)
YouTube-hit soldier comes out after US gay military ban officially ends

Hours after the official repeal of the US military’s ban on “public” homosexuality, an American soldier has released an emotional video of him coming out to his father. The soldier has previously chronicled his experiences of being gay in the US military on the video-sharing platform.

Since April of this year, the more than 8 000 subscribers to his YouTube channel and millions of viewers have been transfixed as the formerly faceless US soldier who says he’s deployed in Afghanistan has posted a series of 17 surprisingly viral videos chronicling his journey to publicly coming out as gay in the run-up to the official repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

In these videos, he concealed his identity as failing to do so would have constituted a flouting of the rules by which gay and lesbians could serve in the US military. The soldier in his first video had the humble goal of having it gain 1000 views and 100 subscribers.

Failing to recognise just how much his story would touch hearts across the world, in his second video he expressed genuine surprise that in four days, he had reached the number of views he expected to get in a month.

Whilst it was not initially his stated goal, as the soldier posted more videos he decided to come out to family, friends and those close to him.

Though his first ten videos did well, it was after he posted the 11th, a video of a military band, Sidewinder, doing a cover of Adele’s smash-hit “Rolling In The Deep,” that he truly became an internet sensation.

The video, which also featured on US television, garnered over one and a half million views.

After the video went viral, however, it wasn’t long before those deployed with him figured out that he was “faceless gay soldier” who posted the Adele cover video. At that point in time, it being known that he was gay could have led to his discharge from the US military. As he was happy to announce, however, that is not what happened.

Within hours of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” officially being repealed, the soldier — now able to show his face — finally called his father to come out to him. As he wrote in the blurb to the video, “I called my dad to tell him the hardest thing that gay guys will ever have to say.”

Within the first 10 hours of its release, the video received more than 1 600 likes and 10 000 views.

Image: Foreign Policy

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