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Why I Give a Damn

Aug 22nd, 2011 03:40 PM By Tex

My name is Tex. I’m a 35-year old gay professional who lives in South Carolina. I struggled with my sexuality most of my life. I can remember being in elementary school and being more interested in the boys than the girls. Even when my friends were making that transition from “girls are icky and stupid” to dating them, I was more interested in my gender. I had always heard I’d grow out of it, but I never did.

I was in love with my best friend. We went through junior and senior high school together and I never told him how I felt. I was afraid that he would reject me and our friendship would be ruined. Even when he went off to boot camp after high school, I just said a teary-eyed good bye and spent the next few months in agony missing him.

I tried to be straight. I dated a few girls, but it was never serious. I dated one girl in high school for almost two years and I even had her move out to Charleston with me when I was stationed there in the Navy. Needless to say, we were “serious” but things didn’t work out and she moved back home after a few months.

I went to church to try and get God to change me. After all, being gay is a “sin,” and I thought if I turned to God and confessed this sin that He would “fix” me. It never happened.
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I Give a Damn

Aug 08th, 2011 06:16 PM By Sergio

My name is Sergio, and I am a Mexican-American, 16 year old from California. Having grown up in a not-so-great neighborhood, and my family being middle-class, my whole life I have had to work my butt off for anything I’ve wanted. With college coming quick, it’s something I have to do a whole lot more. But those are things I am incredibly proud of.

However, something I am not proud of is to be a part of a society that seems to run on hate.

Whenever I hear the words “illegal” or “alien” or ” beaner,” I just feel sorry for the amount of ignorance in the world. Whenever I see news headlines of people getting discharged from serving a country they love just because they love the same sex, I feel angry at the level of prejudice in the world. But whenever I am questioned why I support gays or immigrants or anybody “different”, I feel totally motivated to help the world change.
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My Life is Normal to Me…

Aug 01st, 2011 06:55 PM By Danielle

Hello there, I will keep this short and sweet. I am 24 years old, I will be 25 in August and I am in the US Navy. I knew the rules when I enlisted, so some might say “what does she have to complain about”. Wrong! I have asked myself many times why I chose to serve a country that doesn’t recognize my rights. I fight for rights that I myself don’t even get. I face discrimination everyday and I am expected to keep my mouth shut.

We are allowed to want equality as long as we keep quiet about it. People are ok with it as long as they don’t know about it. People are ok with it as long as they don’t have to see it. So how ok with it are you? I decided that I want what it is I’m fighting for everyone else to get to keep. I want rights too. Just because I’m not like you doesn’t mean I am wrong; it just means I am different, and different is ok.

Danielle

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My Best Friend

Aug 01st, 2011 06:52 PM By Megan

So tall, as a Marine he is ready to take it all on, with soft eyes of blue he’ll look at you as if he has always known you, a smile so bright we’ll laugh and talk all night, and a gentle heart full of care. You know with him he’ll always be there. With him I found a love like no other. In him I found the love of a brother, so strong and brave. Does it really matter that he is gay? Don’t you ever stop to think that God doesn’t make any mistakes? A brave man simple and plain but you’ll turn your back on him because he is gay?

I am proud to say this is an honorable man in every way, he will never turn his back on his fellow Marines even if they don’t stand for what they mean. I would love to give you the name of my hero, my friend, but first I have to wait for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to end. Then, maybe he can stand a little taller and say, “I have won the battle Sergeant, I’m gay.” Without dishonor and without any pain, he can find his Romeo and take his last name. I say let’s have a toast to the best friend that will ever be my hero, my brother, my Honey Bee!

This is dedicated to my best friend, my brother, who helped me be who I am and not be ashamed to be bisexual, but love who I am and hold my head high with pride and that is why he is my hero. Not just because he serves his country, but because he is the greatest man I’ve ever known and I know that when “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ends he’ll be free and able to hold his head high just like he has taught me.~ Megan

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Small Town Country Boy

Aug 01st, 2011 06:49 PM By Randall

I grew up in a small town where being gay was unheard of. It was a low demographic, high military entrance. You either graduated and went into the military, or worked at a factory. No in between. I decided to join the Marine Corps in my junior year of high school. I have always known that I am gay. The days approaching my ship date to go to Parris Island, I was getting nervous about my secret. I shipped out to boot camp on September 22, 2008.

I arrived on the island and was comfortable for the first few weeks until my platoon mates started asking questions about my sexuality. I denied all of it. It was the day of the 2nd phase. Swim week. I decided I had had enough of the consistent badgering of questions. So I requested to speak to the 3rd BTN Chaplain. I initially told him that I am gay. He said that its a hard discharge and it will take a while for me to get off the Island. So I went forth with it. I was forced to sign paperwork that was demeaning stating that I am a homosexual and was only interested in the sexual nature of men. I am, but to write that out and say it in front of my DIs was extremely embarrassing. I was taken to RSP (Recruit Separation Platoon) where I was at for a month prior to being dropped from training.

The day I was dropped my heavy hat was asking me why I decided to get out this way. He knew of gay Marines. I told him that I did not want to hide who I am. I wanted to be proud of who I am and who I am with. He said that he respected that. As I arrived to my barracks my Senior Drill Instructor and another SDI from follow series was there and they were mocking me. I started to inventory my gear and as I was finishing they said that I would have made a great Marine.

Arriving back at RSP I was met by my RSP DIs. They immediately made me inventory my gear there, then go to Service and Supply battalion to turn in my gear to start my process of getting discharged. I had to sign all my rights away for council. It took me a total of 3 months to get off the island. I could have graduated and gone out into the fleet in that time. Near the end of my stay on the island I was informed that they asked my platoon mates if I approached them sexually.

In a society where masculinity is the rule of thumb, homophobia runs rampant.

I’m Randall, and I GIVE A DAMN!!! Do you?

My Friends… For Life

Aug 01st, 2011 06:43 PM By Roberta

While I was in the United States Marine Corps, I made a lot of friends. I counted myself blessed beyond words for their friendship, their love and support, and their understanding and guidance. What I could never understand is why they could not be who they truly were, you see, these life long friends, had a secret, they were gay, they could not admit to to anybody else in the service, because if it were discovered they would be dishonorably discharged.

I was honored that they trust me enough to be themselves. Understand these same people had bled in combat for this nation, they had lost loved ones to wars fought for this nation. Yet they were second class citizens where their sexual orientation was concerned. Having known them for who they truly were, I can tell you they were some of the finest, strongest, bravest, Marines I had the honor of knowing, they understood the ideals of the Corps down to their souls. I think it is past time that we honor them and their service, they earned at least that much from all of us.

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DADT (1999 – 2010)

Jul 23rd, 2011 06:02 AM By Ben

Welcome to one Private’s unprivate personal hell
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Benny
Shot through the heart by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

A spiteful, misbegotten fear cloaked in a pious shell
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Denny
Welcome to one Private’s unprivate personal hell

Discharged to stop them tainting other personnel
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Jenny
Shot through the heart by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

There’s no marker on the battlefield where they fell
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Kenny
Welcome to one Private’s unprivate personal hell

Just to speak their love’s name was to rebel
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Lenny
Shot through the heart by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

They understood prejudice only too well
Let’s drink a toast in honour of Penny
Welcome to one Private’s unprivate personal hell
Shot through the heart by “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

The above is a villanelle I wrote about DADT. No copyright, so if you want to reprint it anywhere, recite it when you’re having a Celebrate Repeal party, whatever, please do.

With love and respect, Ben

Deadbeat Dad

Jan 11th, 2011 11:46 AM By Tera

I’m 25 and I’ve been with my partner for 6 years. We just had our first baby. My partner has a daughter from a previous marriage, but her father has not been in the picture for her whole life. He has visited her twice in the past 7 years, but he only spent a few hours with her each time. We worry every day that he will just show up and harm someone, he has a history of violence. He threatens every time that they speak that he wants their daughter to travel across the country to visit him and his family that she only met when she was a baby. He never follows through with his plans but the threat is still there.

Their daughter does not want to go because she is scared, she does not feel safe with anyone of his family members and we cannot afford to send her mother with her and her mother is scared to be around her ex-husband because of his violent history with her. Their daughter says that she doesn’t feel like she is a part of his family, she has been taken in by my family and wants my last name and not her fathers. He now threatens to tell the Judge that his ex-wife is gay and he doesn’t want his daughter to be raised by two gay women. And on top of all of that both of us are in the Army National Guard. He threatens to get both of us kicked out of the Military. I would like to get him out of the picture and not worry about my life being turned upside down. When will my family be treated like any other family?

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Way of Life

Jan 10th, 2011 10:34 AM By Christopher

I have had to hide who I am for a long time. From my family, friends, and now everyone I work with. There are even people in the gay community who look at me funny when they do know. I’m a 21 year old bisexual guy who at one point in my life would hate myself from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. When I came out to my parents they didn’t think much of it. I was in high school and they just thought it was a thing that would pass. After that one try to tell them who I was it became something we never talked about. My dad and step-mom looked at it the same way.

It wasn’t until I was 21 that I tried again. This time I was on the other side of the world with an amazing boyfriend back home. I couldn’t go home on leave and lie to them, so I came out. First to my older sister. She took it great. Then to my father and step-mom. That didn’t go so good. They have come up with so many ways to right it off. Everything from it isn’t possible because I still like girls to being brainwashed when I was younger.

I can’t understand how they would rather think of me as brainwashed and sick instead of really dealing with it. Now it has once again become that one thing they wont talk about. If I hint at the topic or even try to outright bring it up they all of a sudden have to go to the store or go to work.
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I Could Have Served

Jan 06th, 2011 05:52 PM By bryan

I grew up in a small town situated in central Texas. When I say a small town, I mean tiny. My graduating class only had 41 students in it. Though I was not the only gay kid in my class, I was the first in my school to “come out” before having graduated. I guess you could say I was an original.

In the mid 1990’s, in a small town, and in Texas, being gay wasn’t just taboo, it was forbidden. It was a crime punishable in so many violent ways that anyone who even considered themselves gay, lesbian, transgendered or even just curious, would never dare to put themselves in the public eye. I decided to do just that anyway. I didn’t have a death wish or anything like that, I was just tired of having to keep track of all my lies. Lies whose sole purpose was to please the people around me, people I didn’t even like. People who’s opinions I couldn’t have cared less about.
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    Sexual orientation has nothing to do with how well a service member performs his or her job. But under the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, being openly gay can be cause for discharge from the military.

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