10 Personal Stories That Highlight Why Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Needs To Be Repealed Now
None of us want Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to exist. It’s a discriminatory policy that needs to come to end. However looking at it just as a policy makes it easy to forget about between reading one article and the next. What doesn’t make it so easy is when you see DADT as a weapon that it is tearing apart the lives and souls of people like these ten brave servicemembers who have had their desire to serve their country snatched away from them for being only one thing – gay
1. Seaman Jose Rodriguez’s Discharge Because He Was Raped In A Gay Club
Whether you’re a man or a woman being raped is a traumatic experience that you need time and support to come to terms with. When Seaman Jose Rodriguez was drugged and raped in a gay club support was the last thing he got. All the Navy gave Rodriguez was a piece of paper discharging him from the Navy because the information on the attack wrongly passed on to his superiors by medical staff had shown that he was a gay man.
2.Murder of Seaman August Provost
29 years old and from Houston, Provost was killed at the sentry station at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, on June 30 2009 after being shot three times, had his hands and feet bound, mouth gagged and body burned. Confiding to his family he was being harassed and ostracized for being black and gay, his sister told him to seek help from his supervisor. He couldn’t because he was gay. In the end the case saw Petty Officer Jonathon C Campos, a man accused of a month long spree of murder, drug and weapon violations charged with the Navy denying it was a hate crime. Rep. Bob Filner (D) of suburban Chula Vista, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee how acted to challenge this saying “There’s some disturbing elements to this. He was harassed in the days leading up to this.”
Either way, Provost died a man harassed and unhappy in the work he did because the Navy wouldn’t allow him to serve openly.
3. Lieutenant Dan Choi Tells Rachel Maddow He’s Gay, US Army Tell Him He’s Out Of A Job
When Dan Choi appeared on MSBNC’s The Rachel Maddow show he didn’t speak badly about the way his government was fighting the war. He didn’t insult his superiors. He just spoke honestly of who he was as a person. A gay person. And his reward? A letter discharging him from the army. You wouldn’t get a letter discharging you from a job for being born a man or a woman, why you should you get one discharging you from the job you love just because you were born gay?
4. Sara Isaacson Left $80,000 In Debt To The Military Because They Discharged Her For Being Gay
Isaacson’s dream was to become an army doctor like her grandfather, and from reports concerning her training she could well have become that. So what’s stopped her? Her integrity. Coming to terms with her sexuality during training Isaacson felt she need to be honest so told her superior. Now she’s not only been discharged, but is also facing a bill of as much as $80,000 that they say she needs to pay back for not completing her scholarship.
5. Lieutenant Robin R. Chaurasiya Denied DADT Discharge Because Commander Believed She Was Just Trying To Get Out Of Serving
Whilst a positive in that Chaurasiya wasn’t immediately discharged (that process is though now going through), the brave decision by this Lieutenant to be true and honest about who she was after a male former service member forwarded an email where Chaurasiya had said she was a lesbian to her Commander, the response even worse than a discharge – she was accused of lying just to get out of service. That’s right. Even after Chaurasiya had informed them that she was gay AND in a civil union with a woman they were having none of it officially stating she “made her statements and took subsequent actions for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service”
6. Major Margaret Witt Goes From Poster Child Of Air Force To Disgraced Gay
Major Margaret Witt joined the Air Force in 1986. She gained the Air Force Commendation Medal for saving the lift of a Department of Defense employee. She became the poster child for the Air Force Nurse Corps recruitment drive. Then Commanders had an anonymous tip-off that she was gay. Poster child became discharged ex servicemember.
7. Just-A-Joe Accidentally Comes Out To Comrades, Assured Nothing Would Happen. Now His DADT Investigation Is Underway
Just-A-Joe is an active duty gay soldier who had until recently been able to keep his sexuality hidden from those around him, then one day a conversation with comrades he left the truth slip. His superior promised nothing would happen. Now he’s in the midst of a DADT investigation and has no idea what his future holds. Not because he killed someone, not because he did something wrong, but because he said he was gay.
8. Air Force Servicewoman Forced To Accept Honourable Discharge Or Be Court Marshalled
Angie went to great lengths to keep her gay relationship secret from the military. She left her partner isolated from her military life and would only see her away from base. However thanks to a friend videoing them and putting it up on his Myspace page without thinking, Angie found herself in front of her Commander with options – accept an honourable charge or face a court martial. And what for? For spending some time with her girlfriend in a restaurant.
9. Navy Petty Officer Joseph Christopher Rocha Hosed Down, Locked In Feces Filled Dog Kennel And Forced To Simulate Oral Sex
Joesph Christoper Rocha wanted to serve his country. He was proud to be in the Middle East doing just that. However whilst he wanted to do all he could for his country, the same wasn’t felt the other way with Rocha having no protection from horrific treatment that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Discovered to be gay by his silence in sex filled discussions, Rocha wasn’t allowed to just be. He was instead order bound to chairs, ridiculed, hosed down, locked in feces filled dog kennels and forced on his hands and knees to simulate oral sex.
And what could he do about it? Nothing because that would have let people know he was gay and get him thrown out of the Army.
10. Major Mike Almy Was Escorted Off His Base In Disgrace But Still Wants Nothing More Than To Serve
The DADT policy is not only hugely discriminatory, but also an incredibly degrading experience for anyone who is put through a discharge, something Major Mike Almy is all too aware of. Raising through the ranks, Almy lead a team of nearly 200 men and women in Iraq and was named as one of the top officers in the entire Air Force, so why is he no longer serving? Because a routine computer check found an email from the man he loved.
Forced with the shame of being marched off his base by police escorts following his discharge, you could think Almy would have the Armed Forces. Not so. All this man wants is to serve. All that is stopping him is DADT.
Photo by US Army Africa