On February 28, 1994, the Clinton administration implemented a very controversial and somewhat discriminatory policy. Pretty much, the policy stated that discriminating against those who are openly homosexual was prohibited. Yet, the other clause of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” also stated that those who were already openly homosexual couldn’t serve their country.

 

Essentially, the policy prohibited people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

 

Regardless of your personal opinions, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barred several groups of people who identify as LGBT from bravely serving their country. Luckily, the discriminatory policy was discontinued on September 20, 2011 and individuals in the LGBT community could openly serve without facing discrimination or other forms of negative actions.

 

Because of this strict and somewhat homophobic policy, several individuals had to either hide their sexual preference or take drastic measures to still be able to serve their country.

 

Last week, I met a woman who spoke of her very tumultuous experience of being gay in the military and the repercussions associated with this controversial legislation.

 

Due to the very personal and traumatic experiences she shared, I promised anonymity and will refer to her only as Jane.

 

“When I enlisted. I figured it wouldn’t affect me at all.” Jane said. “After all, I was 24 at at the time. If I could hide being gay that long, I figured the military couldn’t pull it out of me either.”

 

Through boot camp, she met Tom Smith, a fellow soldier who, like Jane, was still in the closet about his sexuality.

 

“He was hilarious. I swear to God, he made boot camp tolerable.”

 

A few months into tech school, Smith opened up to Jane about his sexuality. Of course, being lesbian herself, Jane kept that secret. However, Smith’s secret would soon be out.

 

“Smith had apparently been spotted bringing a civvy (civilian) on base and “having relations” with said civvy in his dorm room with the curtain open just enough for someone to see him and this other lad.” Jane told.

 

(Democracy Now)

Another soldier, one who wasn’t a fan of Smith apparently, saw Smith intimate with another man and spoke directly to their Sergeant. What said soldier witnessed worked its’ way up the chain of command and Smith was brought up on Uniform Code of Military Justice charges of indecency. To find a way out of this predicament, Jane and Smith devised a plan.

 

First, Smith would claim that his cousin was the one in his room for the weekend and that Smith and Jane were in love and were planning on marrying at the end of the month. Within two days, the UCMJ charges were dropped they both moved off base.

 

However, it wasn’t happily ever after and events quickly turned tragic on one night. While still married to Smith, Jane visited an area of town that soldiers were told not to venture to. While waiting on a sandwich at a local sandwich shop, she visited a nearby bar. During the 20 minutes she was there, a man slipped a drug into her water, followed her to her car and took her to “God knows where.”    

 

After being sexually assaulted, her life being threatened and being told that her assaulter would “make her straight”, he then said that “he would let her live” and left. Jane then freed herself and reported this assault to the authorities.

 

“Now whomever this person was, they were doing it cause I was gay and in the military.” Jane said.

 

Instead of investigating whom this man was, the military investigators went after exclusively Smith because of their marriage. Because of the military’s investigation, Smith and Jane divorced, never spoke again and Jane left the military.

 

“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ really f***ed me over.” Jane told.

 

To make matters worse for an already traumatizing situation, Jane’s direct commander emailed a graphic letter to several people regarding what happened to her, along with detailed HIPPA info and said “something like “don’t be a fool and let this happen to you!’”

 

Through this harrowing and terrifying experience, there was a small silver lining if you’d like to call it that.

 

“The military made it right to a certain degree. They compensate me for my PTSD now.” Jane said.

 

What are your feelings on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and did if affect your life? Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff and we’ll discuss.