It’s an initially nerve-wracking but ultimately moving YouTube video that deserves to go viral: a U.S. soldier captures himself calling his father to tell him he’s gay as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is officially repealed.
“I called my dad to tell him the hardest thing that gay guys will ever have to say,” writes the actively deployed soldier, YouTube user AreYouSurprised, of the video captured this morning. He’s been chronicling the dramatic buildup to today since last April, when he published a video titled “Coming out to everyone as a military man.” In that video, and several that follow, he’s careful not to show his face or reveal his identity.
(MORE: Firsthand Experience of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”)
Until today, when he sits down in full view of the video capture device, takes a drink of something, then says: “Good morning… I could not sleep. It’s 2:45 [a.m.] and I’m probably about as nervous as I can ever remember being… I’m about to call my dad… He has no clue…”
And then he holds out his phone and fiddles with it, at one point appearing to abort the call and clutching his chest, half-whispering “My heart is beating like crazy,” before fiddling with the phone some more. He finally connects at about the 2:14 mark.
The five minutes of emotional audio that follow, while at times hard to make out, are gripping and heartwarming.
MORE: Officer X: What Happens After Sept. 20
Matt Peckham is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @mattpeckham or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.