Let me remind people that when I volunteered in 1975 the policy, if it had a name, was "I'm going to ask and you're going to tell."
Gays were banned. Period. Not banned from admitting they were gay but asked as per policy and if you said “I am” you could never ever serve. But if you said “I'm not” and you were later suspected you were lucky to get an honorable discharge and depending on who brought the charge, and when, you could go to jail.
Then along came "Don't ask. Don't tell" and volunteers were not asked if they were gay and if they were but could keep it in the closet they could serve their term. No one was supposed to out them if they didn't out themselves.
The change was from “Tell or else” to “Its none of our business. Don't don't make it so.”
Granted it wasn't full legitimizing but it was a foot in the door and the arguments against it in congress and in the media were just as fierce back then.
“What if the guy in the foxhole with you is looking at your butt when people are trying to shoot at you both? Why, he'll be so enraptured with your tush that he won't mind getting filled with bullets and shrapnel. Heck he won't even mind if you get killed right before his eyes as long as your cheeks aren't damaged.”
You combat vets can remember when the landmine went off and killed some of your buddies or the bullets slammed into your pack. You probably said something like "Hey Sarge, back off I'm pounding my pud lookin' at my new picture of sweet Betty Jo here."