Gay TV star challenges “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”
Reichen Lehmkuhl has writen a book about his experiences as a gay man in the US Air Force.
32-year-old shot to prominence as the boyfriend of former N-Sync star Lance Bass, who recently surprised no-one by coming out.
Lehmkuhl won the US reality show “The Amazing Race” and has subsequently worked as a model and TV presenter.
He was 16-years-old when he received his nomination from US Congressman Barney Frank for admission to the United States Air Force Academy.
Lehmkuhl graduated in 1996, served five years and attained the rank of Captain before his honourable discharge.
He is now a leading advocate of the Servicemembers Legal Defence Team, opposing the current ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy of the US military.
President Bill Clinton had promised to open the military to gay and lesbian people during his successful 1992 campaign for President, but caved into pressure from the Army – the compromise was the current policy.
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It remains illegal to be a member of the US Armed Forces and be gay, lesbian or bisexual.
Since 1993, 11,082 members of the Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard and Air Force have been discharged.
Lehmkuhl, speaking about the policy, said: “In my opinion, it’s the last legal human rights abuse the US allows. It’s still a criminal offence to be gay in the US Armed Forces. It’s an abomination.
“This book chronicles the secret society we created to survive as gay cadets in the academy.
“I’m making a political statement. I wrote this book to end the ban on gay people serving in the US Armed Forces… It’s just this one thing that needs to be fixed.”
Lehmkuhl’s book, entitled “Here’s What We’ll Say:A Memoir of Growing Up, Coming Out, and the U.S. Air Force” is available from Amazon.