Just One Story Among Many…
I give a DAMN!!! I give a DAMN because I spent 13yrs in the military and was a lesbian the whole way thru. I come from a small town. I know now, that I wasn’t the ONLY lesbian living there, but when I was growing up you were so isolated that I never connected with other gays and lesbians. We had no community or place to go and therefore never really knew each other well. I thought I was the only one at my school.
My best friend in the whole wide world while growing up, wrote me a letter after I’d left for basic and informed me that she was a lesbian!!! I was shocked! Not that she was, just that I never knew and she kept it such a secret and hid it so well. I can’t believe that in almost 15yrs of being around each other daily and discussing EVERYTHING together, we never discussed being gay. Now that’s were I came from.
When I got to my first duty station, HOLY COW! There were gays and lesbians EVERYWHERE! I thought I’d died and went to LGBT Heaven! I loved it. And for the next 13yrs, I’ve never worked with a more finer, more dedicated, more respectful and more patriotic group of people ever in my life before and since.
We were hounded by NIS/NAS on a weekly basis, picked at and bullied by a few other military members, constantly reminded that we were a security risk. Rousted out of bed in the middle of the night by surprise visits from NIS/NAS agents trying to catch us “in bed” with a partner, accused of all sorts of crazy stuff… But they could never prove any of it and it frustrated them and in return, they tried their best to drum us out one by one with harassment tactics. We lost a few who couldn’t deal with the pressure, but for the most part, we dealt with it and life went on.
A very understanding and accepting CO helped a lot. She fought for and defended us when she could and I’ll never forget she would tells us “Look, I personally don’t care what goes on in your personal lives, it’s not my place to judge. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t listen to such complaints. But in my position as CO, I am bound and obligated to follow proper protocol with every situation and the “powers” over me are watching. So believe me when I say, I’m sorry we are all here today…”.
That was awesome and spoke volumes as to how she felt. We got thru it because we were the hardest workers, the first to volunteer. The first on watch and the last to leave. Our uniforms were crisp, our salutes perfect. We passed every inspection with high marks. You’d find us at the gym or on the basketball court while every one else was getting drunk at the NCO Club. When moral among the ranks would get low, it was my “group” (the gays and lesbians) that would open up the MWR building and put on carnivals, host games and events and spearhead programs and then would go out on base and get every one to come. We studied hard and rose swiftly in rank.
Out of all the gay and lesbian people I’ve know in all those years in the military, there were a few “bad apples”, but for the most part, they are kind, warm, dedicated, intelligent, honest, proud, hard working and very, very patriotic and love this country more than anything and would be the first to lay their life down to protect it and defend it.
Yet, we are still told that we are criminals and deserve punishment. We cause dissension among the ranks. We disrupt cohesion among military groups. We offend our fellow members. We put at risk, the entire Military Objective because we are considered a security risk. And on and on…
I have to admit, I was lucky and blessed to have been able to serve for so long and come out with an honorable discharge when I did choose to not re-enlist after 13yrs. I served with some pretty awesome people who were gay and lesbian and bisexual. I made rank every time I was up for it. I was even the Classified Materials Petty Officer the last 3yrs I was in, even though I was supposed to be a security risk by standards.
I give a DAMN because I’m mad that we still live in a society were people THINK they have the right to harass and bully and destroy the the very essence of another persons being. I give a DAMN because there are people out there that feel they are worthless because of who and how they love and we can’t get to them fast enough so save them. Thank you for this site and to every one who has something to share and the opportunity to share it. To say I GIVE A DAMN!
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