The People

Meet some of the people featured in ASK NOT and get updates on what they have been doing since filming ended.

Aaron Belkin

Aaron Belkin with a bookshelf full of books

An associate professor of political science and director of the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Aaron Belkin has also been a visiting member of the political science faculty at Stanford University, a MacArthur Foundation postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford. He has published 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters and books, including Counterfactual Thought Experiments in World Politics (Princeton University Press, 1996, co-edited with Philip Tetlock) and United We Stand? Divide and Conquer Politics and the Logic of International Hostility (SUNY Press, 2005).

Belkin’s recent work on "don't ask, don't tell" has included speaking engagements at the Air Force Academy and Georgetown University. He is currently writing a new book on military masculinity.

Jarrod Chlapowski

Jarrod Chlapowski and Alex Nicholson, standing and wearing dark T-shirts
Jarrod Chlapowski and
Alex Nicholson

Jarrod Chlapowski enlisted in the Army in 2000 and trained as a Korean linguist at the Defense Language Institute and Goodfellow Air Force Base, finishing second in his class. He was awarded both the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. However, Chlapowski chose not to re-enlist because of the burden of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. He served as co-director of the Call to Duty Tour.

Since filming ended, Chlapowski has finished his undergraduate degree in political science at North Georgia Military College and will soon earn a graduate degree in international relations from the University of South Carolina. Since completing the Call to Duty Tour, he and his partner Alex Nicholson have continued their advocacy work around "don't ask, don't tell" through the formation of Servicemembers United, a Washington, DC-based organization of Iraq- and Afghanistan-era troops and vets aiming to insert a fresh, pragmatic approach into the movement for repeal.

Haven Herrin on a city street

Haven Herrin

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Haven Herrin is now based in Minneapolis, where she serves as co-director for the Right to Serve Campaign. She graduated valedictorian from the University of Richmond in Virginia, where she studied fine art.

When not on a plane or a bus, doing a sit-in or canvassing, she can often be found in a coffee shop writing letters to her friends and working.

Alex Nicholson

Alex Nicholson and Jarrod Chlapowski with their arms around one another
Alex Nicholson and
Jarrod Chlapowski

After an untimely discharge pursuant to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, Alex Nicholson founded the Call To Duty nationwide veteran speaking tour. He has been featured on the cover of The Advocate and served as the public plaintiff on a lawsuit filed by Log Cabin Republicans to challenge the constitutionality of the law. Nicholson speaks five languages, including Arabic, holds a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in public administration from North Georgia Military College. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of South Carolina.

Nicholson serves as executive director of Servicemembers United, a progressive “DADT 2.0-style” advocacy organization for Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans that was formed directly out of the work featured in ASK NOT.

Jake Reitan speaking to the camera

Jake Reitan

After founding the Soulforce Equality Ride, a journey by bus to initiate discussion about faith and sexuality at Christian colleges, Jacob Reitan orchestrated the Right to Serve Campaign and trained activists to challenge "don't ask, don't tell" at military recruitment centers across the country. A Minnesota native, Reitan graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University and is a Presidential Scholar pursuing his master’s degree at the Harvard Divinity School.

Rear Admiral Alan Steinman

Rear Admiral Alan Steinman in a black-and-white photo

Alan Steinman served in the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Public Health Service for 25 years before retiring in 1997 as the Coast Guard’s director of health and safety (an equivalent to the U.S. surgeon general). In 2003, on the tenth anniversary of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” he came out publicly, becoming the most senior military officer to identify himself as gay. Steinman also co-founded the Puget Sound chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights, serves on the Military Advisory Board of Directors for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and served as the military advisor for the Call to Duty Tour.

Steinman continues to be a tireless advocate for the repeal of DADT and has spoken frequently in Q&A sessions after screenings of ASK NOT.


Headshot of “Perry”

“Perry” returned safely from his tour of duty in Iraq. He continues to serve and has not come out to his superiors because of his desire to remain in the military.

Learn more about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy >>

Read about the making of ASK NOT >>

Try your hand as an Army recruiter. Who would you enlist? >>

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