So I thought I’d serve my country and get an education. I knew my father and grandfathers would have been proud of me. I enlisted in the US Navy, and shipped out to basic days before 9/11. I felt a great confidence swell in me and pride knowing I would be fighting to protect my country and future family. I graduated from Sonar “A” School 4th in my class. I had the pick of the fleet. When I reported to my boat, I qualified faster than many had in the last year. I was a good Sailor, and I loved what I did.
I kept who I was pretty privately, and nobody really messed with me. Well, these two sailors one night thought that gays didn’t belong in “their” Navy. When they jumped me as I was leaving my watch, they learned that gays weren’t helpless, nelly queens who couldn’t fight. I blackened one’s eye, and broke the other’s jaw. My hand got a fracture as well, and I learned fighting didn’t solve anything.
Then when someone came on to me that I wasn’t interested in, I turned him down. He reported me saying I came onto him and wouldn’t back down. His chief went to the XO before my division could vouch for me. They knew I’d never do that.
It was embarrassing to have to pack my stuff up, leave the love of my life, my submarine, and give up my dreams of becoming an officer or Chief.
Sure, they offered to keep me in, if I denied it. But I’d never be able to serve on a submarine. I’d have to be transferred to shore duty, and never go in the ocean. I said screw it all, I wasn’t going to serve if they wouldn’t let me be where I wanted to be.
Today, I’m going to school for an Associates in Networking, and am one of the only openly gay students. I plan on trying to start an LGBT & Allies club, hoping to reach out to those who don’t know what or where to go. I actually had a fellow student, fresh out of high school, and none too bright, actually freak out when he found out I was gay. We’d been in the same class for 11 weeks, he sat behind me and everything! In that class I was very open about who I was, and being that it was a debate class, I always had an opinion. While my other peers respected me, he had no clue, and then had the audacity to act ignorant. Not only did my friends in class tell him he was dumb, but the instructor told him he’d better grow up otherwise he won’t get anywhere.
I used to not care what others thought about my being gay. Now I do care, but only in the effort for equal rights! My partner of two years wants to marry me, but we agreed only when it’s legal everywhere.
I sometimes wish I could rejoin the service. Now I just wish that those who are in there now can have the chance to be open, and future generations not be oppressed as such.
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