Thursday, September 8, 2011

More American than Most?

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.

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