I joined the Coast Guard in 1994. I always knew I was different, but I never knew why. I didn’t grow up around gay people and I was never exposed to them. Once I left home to serve my country, I encountered my first “lesbian.” Something inside me finally clicked and I knew why I was different. I met my first girlfriend at the young age of 20. Her and I were both stationed on the same ship together and had a wonderfully private relationship courtesy of the Coast Guard, but it never changed how we did our jobs.
The Coast Guard decided to do away with 2 bedroom apartments and move everyone into 3 bedroom apartments. She left the ship to go to school and I was put with 2 other girls. Both of which knew about myself and my girlfriend. At some point when we were out to sea, one of my sweet roommates decided to turn me and my girlfriend in to the command. I was summoned to the captain’s quarters and informed of the charges against me. I was given the option to fight it, or admit to it.
If I fought it, they were gonna take my then girlfriend out of her school and bring her back for this unnecessary investigation. That would have caused her to lose her school status and have to go back on the waiting list and start over if the charges were dropped. So to protect her, I just admitted it and they dropped everything. Of course I was discharged immediately. Shortly after all of this transpired, her and I split up and went our separate ways.
She to this day has no idea that I did what I did and is still in the Coast Guard. It’s sad that my career was ended because someone decided to be a homophobe. We are so worried about gays in the military, what about the foreigners who join our services and then bomb our buildings, or go on shooting sprees on our bases. What is the harm in a gay person choosing to fight and die for their country? People are scared of what they don’t know and don’t understand. So instead of trying to understand us, they shun us and treat us like garbage. It’s a sad, sad world we live in. Gay people don’t want special rights, just equal rights. Including the right to serve our country. I know that I will never see it, but I hope my kids do.
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