I wonder sometimes about whether the folks who served in the US armed forces during the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and before that might just be among the best Americans. They sacrificed even more than the average grunt/marine/squid/AF person (what is the equivalent of grunt for the USAF?), having hide basic parts of their identity while risking their lives for their country.
This piece in GQ does a nice job of showing what these men experienced. Yes, it focuses on the males because, hey, it is GQ (G standing for Guy, right?). Still quite moving.
A key quote: "if you want to hide, the Marine Corps is one of the best places to do
that, because nobody wants to admit they are standing next to a gay guy.
Nobody wants to admit that they have gone to war with gay people."
Another one: "But I loved what I did, I loved my job, and I didn't want to tell
anyone. I said, 'It's going to be my secret.' I knew I was not going to
be happy in a way, but I knew this was what I wanted."
Ok, a couple more: "One of the boyfriends tells me how difficult it was when his partner
was recently in Afghanistan. "If something happened," he points out, "I
wouldn't have got a phone call. I would have known nothing about it at
all. If he didn't call for two days, I was freaking out."
"Nobody joined up to be 'the unit gay guy,' but that's who you're going
to be, and I think it's incumbent on us who are senior to basically
identify ourselves so that younger kids can look and say, 'Hey, it is okay.' Because we didn't have that."
Just some very, very moving passages. Read the whole thing.