Forced into closet by nation they serve
Posted on July 6, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
Wednesday in Annapolis, the United States Naval Academy welcomed the most racially and ethnically diverse class in its history: 14 percent Hispanic, 10 percent African-American – and perhaps 2 percent to 3 percent homosexual. I added that last part. No one knows how many plebes are gay or lesbian, but studies have placed the percentage of homosexual men and women serving this nation’s military in that range, with some 65,000 said to be on active duty. It’s a fairly safe assumption that a small percentage of plebes will have to keep their sexuality a secret if they want to graduate from the academy and, after that, fulfill their obligations to the country.
That’s what “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” demands.
It forces men and women serving the nation to lie about their sexual orientation or risk discharge. An estimated 13,000 men and women have been discharged under Don’t Ask in the 16 years since the law took effect. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network says 277 of the discharges have occurred since Barack Obama became president. As a candidate, Mr. Obama pledged to end Don’t Ask. Last week, the he reiterated his support for eventual repeal of the law by Congress.
Skip Muller was a midshipman at the Naval Academy at the start of the Don’t Ask era. Prior to entering the academy, he had studied Russian at the Defense Language Institute in California.
“As an 18-year-old I struggled to understand my own sexuality, while all around me I saw people actively targeted, investigated and ejected from the military because they were homosexual,” Mr. Mullen writes on the Web site of USNAOut, an organization of gay Naval Academy alumni. “I forced myself to date women and live the lie that consumed and exhausted me for years to come.”
After graduating from the academy in 1996, Mr. Muller served two tours aboard destroyers, the second cut short by honorable discharge under Don’t Ask. See
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