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Iraq veteran dismissed from National Guard for being a lesbian

PinkNews Staff Writer February 9, 2009

A woman who served for nine years in the Kansas Army National Guard has been discharged after a co-worker told authorities she is a lesbian.

Amy Brian is an Iraq veteran.

She is the first service member to be dismissed from the Kansas Army National Guard, made up of reservists, under a 1993 law that bans openly gay people from serving in the US Armed Forces.

After a co-worker told Guard officials via email she had seen Ms Brian kissing another woman in a checkout line at Wal-Mart, an investigation began.

Despite her service since 1994, including a tour of duty in Iraq, she was dismissed last month.

“Everyone … knew I was gay, and no one had a problem with it,” Ms Brian said.

“It didn’t make a difference when I went to Iraq. It didn’t make a difference when I drove that truck. It didn’t make a difference in my ability to serve my country.

“I was not separated because of any type of misconduct but plain and simply because someone else had a problem with my sexuality.”

US President Barack Obama has said the ban will come to an end and 75% of Americans agree that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law should be repealed.

DADT is the only federal law that requires employers to fire employees for being openly gay or lesbian.

Since 1993, 12,500 men and women have been discharged under the law, which stipulates that if army personnel are discovered to be LGB then they are sacked, but commanding officers are not allowed to ask about their sexual orientation.

An estimated 65,000 lesbian and gay service members serve on active duty and in the reserves of the United States military, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, an organisation dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel.

More: Americas, Employment

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