On The Verge of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Repeal, Gay Men In The Military Give GQ Revealing Interviews
In less than 20 days, the ‘Don’t ask Don’t Tell’ policy will be removed from the U.S. Military allowing people of any sexual preference to openly serve his/her country. This ban has been in affect for 17 years and has caused over 13,000 military personnel to be expelled from the armed services. We often hear much debate coming from the mouths of politicians and media moguls, but what about the actual people it affects? The service men and women helping keep this country free. GQ sat down with a few military persons to help show the side of the story kept silent for the past 17 years.
GQ and the service men discussed such topics as what it’s like to be a gay serviceman today, serving in World War II, being a prisoner of war, and the fear of something most of us take for granted: loving someone.
It’s a really great read. When people think of war or military, the main discourse tends to focus on staying alive or getting killed. We always hear in the news who died and who lived. I think we often forget that the lives are much more complex and full of wars on and off of the battle field. Now that the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy is being revoked, the atmosphere is allowing more and more service men and women to tell their stories.
Here are a few samples of the interview. Read the full interview at GQ.com
Navy #2(captain, twenty years): “Personally, I haven’t had a lot of struggles. The hardest thing that I faced was about eight years ago. I was dating somebody for about two years who had gotten out of the army. He was HIV positive, and I didn’t know that, and he ended up dying—it just happened very quickly. I am not positive, luckily. So I had a lot of difficulties grasping with that personally, dealing with his death, and I had to take time off work, but still not tell them. I couldn’t go to the doctor or the psychologist. There wasn’t really anybody to talk to.”
Marines #1: “Since I’m a single officer in the Marine barracks and I’ve got the highest security clearance you can get, I also serve at the White House in close quarters with President Bush and President Obama at social events. Very seldom was the president ever alone, but one time the president had said, ‘Go and get the vice president,’ and all the straphangers went, and the president went in the Blue Room and was just standing there waiting for Biden. And there was no Secret Service around or anything, and I went, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to go and talk to the president about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” ‘ He was looking out south—there’s an incredible view down past the Washington Monument to the Jefferson. And I just stepped in and said, ‘Sir?’ and he turned around and walks to me and I just started: ‘You know, sir, I want to let you know that there are a number of us that work very close to you who appreciate very much what you’re doing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—more than you probably realize.’ And he was shaking my hand, he looks up and it’s like…he got it. I said, ‘I want to thank you for this.’ And he goes, ‘No, I want to thank you. Thank you for your service, and thank you for your courage.’ “