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Open to Serve

August 26th, 2011

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The end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is quickly approaching. On September 20th the repeal and certification process officially is complete and the sexuality that a person is born will no longer be grounds for discharge. As we approach this historic day that marks the end of seventeen years of institutionalized discrimination former and active duty service members are telling their stories of how they made it through and what it was like to endure.

GQ magazine has collected some of these stories and presents them here.

Like the story of Eric Alva, the first American injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

When Alva signed up, before "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," he had to lie on his paperwork. "I knew I was lying," he says. "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." In 2003 he was deployed to the Middle East, and on March 21 he crossed the border from Kuwait. His unit was part of a huge convoy that stopped outside Basra. Alva got out of his Humvee and went to fetch something from the back of the vehicle. "That’s when I triggered the IED. I was awake, my hearing was sort of gone. My hand was covered in blood and part of my index finger was gone. The chaplain was holding my head and I was telling him I didn’t want to die. I was taken off a helicopter in Kuwait—it was estimated that I was only in Iraq about three hours—and carried into surgery. I woke up later and when I looked down I saw that the right side of my sheet was flat. I cried myself asleep, only to wake up hours later and see that it’s true: My leg is gone."

DADT not only affected the lives of those who risked their lives on the battlefield. It also took a toll on those they loved.

"The relationship lasted for about four years, but I always felt like I was disrespecting him, to have to pretend he didn’t exist when I went to work. When I got deployed, he was there with my family when I left. It kind of sucked—to shake his hand and a little pat on the back and ‘I’ll see you when I see you’ kind of thing. And when you’re getting ready to come back, the spouses were getting classes—here’s how you welcome your Marine back into the family—and my boyfriend didn’t get any of that. I had a really hard time adjusting to being home. We tried to make it work for a year but he was getting more and more paranoid about people finding out about us. It killed me that he felt that way because of me. I don’t think we ever really had a chance, ultimately."

For some DADT became the weapon used by haters.

The harassment grew worse. Of a number of escalating events—Rocha was also force-fed dog food and locked into a shit-filled dog kennel—the most abusive and explicitly homophobic was when he was ordered by his commander to act in a dog-training scenario, repeated over and over so that every dog in the unit could be run through it. "The scenarios were supposed to be relevant to what the dogs or the handlers would experience. Like a domestic dispute, or an armed individual who has been spotted on the base, or someone strapped with explosives. This day he chose that the scenario would be that I would be getting caught giving another service member a blow job and, once the dogs came in, I was supposed to jump up from having been in between this guy’s legs. He would coach as to how exactly he wanted it played out, which was the sickest part of it." Rocha says he had to act this out between half a dozen and a dozen times, about fifteen to twenty minutes each time. As they repeated it, his commander ordered Rocha to make the scenario more extreme. "He wanted me to be very queer and flamboyant. He wanted me to pretend like there was stuff on my face. Loving it so much that each scenario was gayer and more disgusting—the introduction of fake semen, that I would have to wipe my face, or that I would have to make slurping noises. The level of humiliation I experienced that day, that’s when I knew I wasn’t safe in the military."

I highly recommend heading over there and reading more http://www.gq.com/news-politics/big-issues/201109/dont-ask-dont-tell-gay-soldiers-military#ixzz1WAXDJMrl

Creative Commons License photo credit: DVIDSHUB

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Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Personal Update

So, It’s been a while since I posted anything on this here blog thing-a-ma-jig, which means that I’ve been pretty active in other things.

Outside of work the one things that takes up most of my time is the game shop, Multiverse Comics & Games. Being a 1/3rd partner in the business for the last few months has certainly been an adventure, as well as a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to many more years with it.

I also just finished with the refinancing on my house. That was sure mind racking experience. At one point I thought I was going to be forced to practically triple the amount of insurance I have on the house. Fortunately that all worked out in the end. all in all I only ended up knocking about $100.00 off my monthly payment but in the long run the lower interest payment will be worth all the trouble. Now if I could just get my school loans consolidated I’d be a happy camper.

I spent most of last week and this weekend fighting my yearly spring cold. Wednesday I drove my office mates nuts with all my coughing, sneezing, and hacking. Thursday I broke down, called in sick, and went to the doctor. He put me on antibiotics. I’m not a big fan of doctors and hospitals, but I figure if the government is going to force me to buy health insurance then I might as well take advantage of the damn thing. Of course when I went to get a physical last August I didn’t expect it to turn into a four month odyssey through the world of blood tests and ultrasounds, just to come out the other side with the knowledge that I need to loose weight. Hell, I could have told them that for less money.

The unusually warm weather we are having this week has me itching to start get things together for this year’s garden. I really want to do one again and I really want to try that raised bed idea that Dad gave me last summer. Downside is, that with all the time I’m spending at the store, I have even less time this year to actually care for a garden. I may have to try conning my step-father into some “sharecropping.” Of course, I still don’t have a garden tiller. Maybe I should have bought one of them instead of a new bookcase. Oh well.

I loaded Windows 8 onto my desktop when the consumer preview was released. I have yet to really make up my mind on it. I did go back to Windows 7 over the weekend, and promptly fried my Ethernet port. At least cards are pretty cheap. I think my biggest issue with Windows 8 right now is that it is so new that very apps have been made that take advantage of the new Metro style start menu. I spent 90% of my time looking at the Windows 7 style desktop as I ran everything from FireFox to Star Wars the Old Republic.

2012

Welcome to 2012 everyone.

I hope you all had a happy and joyful holiday season and didn’t spend too much time soaking up the alcohol on New Year’s Eve.

2012 is going to be a big year with the presidential election campaign moving in full force, the Iowa caucuses now a couple of days behind us and the New Hampshire primary a few days in front of us.

Also this year we are supposed to experience once version of the apocalypse or another depending on what superstitions and myths you subscribe to. Personally I expect that I’ll be filling out a 2012 tax return come this time 2013 and going about my daily routine as normal.

Come August 13th of 2012 I will turn the big 4-0. I haven’t made any real plans yet for my birthday, it is some 8 months away right now; but I’ll most likely take my usual week of vacation from work. Other than that, who knows at this point.

Blocking Debate

The National Organization for Marriage, along with most other Anti-Gay hate groups often throw the victim card around, claiming that Marriage Equality Advocates are trying to silence the voice of Christians through Non-Discrimination legislation like ENDA, which makes this recent post at the Ruth Institute Blog (a NOM funded affiliate organization) so ironic.

Oftentimes I read someone’s comment and wonder if I really ought to let it pass or trash it. Usually I go ahead and approve it because of our very open policy on this blog.

While they are certainly within their rights to censer commenters on their blog, and I completely agree that if a comment contains foul language or threats of violence it should be deleted, if not turned over to police, I just have to wonder who is trying to silence who now. I guess we will just have to wait and see if the Ruth Institute is just as heavy handed in deleting civil discussion posts that disagree with their stance on Marriage Equality and Abortion.

Update:

Betsy from the Ruth Institute has been kind enough to respond to me my post by copying it verbatim as a comment; which would appear to be a violation of copyright and fair use but I’m a forgiving individual.

Betsy then goes on to actually make a personal attack against me…

The words that I put in italices point out, VV, your lack of reading comprehension skills.

Which kind of seems to go completely against their own new comment policy which is called the “Fun To Be Around Rule.

Update 2:

It now appears that Betsy and Ruth Institute are not really interested in civil debate as they have now deleted my remarks as well as Betsy’s cut and paste of my blog post.

Site Updates

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Word Press 2.8 was released recently and I finally went about the task of upgrading the site. Many of the changes in 2.8 had to deal with how Word Press handles themes, plugins, and widgets and that required a lot of updating in order to get everything to work properly. For a short time yesterday I couldn?t get my links widget to work. =(

Everything seems to be back up and operational now and I?ve also added a few new features to the site.

One new item is the Polling widget that you now see in the first sidebar. Scrolling down further you?ll find Three new RSS feeds, one is the PR Newswire USA feed and the other is the PR Newswire Iowa feed, and I?ve added a feed for The Pajama Pundit, a great political blog with a spectrum of view points. I?ve moved the Amazon MP3 download portal to the 2nd sidebar as well as the ?What am I reading? block.

You will also now find this navigation block at the bottom of the site to make browsing older posts a little easier.

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I?ve also added a new feature to my posts that should make it easier for folks to share them if they like them.

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I hope everyone enjoys the updates and be sure to tell your friends about us.

Busy Week

I know, I’ve been really quiet this past week. I got a little sidetracked. I bought a new car Thursday night after test driving it on Wednesday. I traded in my 95 Pontiac Bonneville. The new car isn’t really that new, it’s a 99. It is also a Pontiac Bonneville. It is even the same color as the old one. I’ll get some pictures posted here in a few days and everyone can have a laugh at my predictability. If anyone in the local area is interested in a car you might give Randy a call at Wes Finch.

While I was side tracked we had some interesting happenings in the news.

Obama passed the 100 day mark as President. I’ll be making the obligatory 100 days post in a day or two, looking back on my impression of how he has done, and where I feel he is going. I’ve been happy with most of his actions but not everything.

The H1N1 (Swine) flu has, as of this posting, spread to 22 states, including Iowa. The Marshalltown school district, which is only about 30 mins north of me, will be shut down for the next 10 days as a handful of students are suspected of having contracted the virus. I’m not all that surprised that it is in Iowa, but it was a tad unnerving to hear that it was so close. Many of the employees at the factory I work for live in the Marshalltown and Tama areas.

Chrysler was forced into bankruptcy because several of the hedge funds that they owed money to thought they would have a better chance in bankruptcy court and thus refused to make a deal. Something tells me that they might be in for a bad surprise. Word is going around that they want to complete the bankruptcy procedures in about 60 days, which I don’t think has ever been done before with such a large company. I have to admit I’m a tad concerned about the governments involvement in the deal overall but I understand it. There is already taxpayer money on the line due tot he past bailout cash that was handed out, and there are thousands of jobs online as well. If the jobs can be protected and the company be taken through quickly enough that the government can quickly and safely get it’s hand out of the automotive cookie jar, then I think we will better off. But the government must part itself of interests in private companies as soon as possible.

The dome on the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys collapsed over the weekend, trapping several people. Four people ended up going to the hospital.

Well that’s a quick wrap up, I’ll be definately trying to post more in the coming week. Thanks for stopping by and please everyone feel free to post a comment or two, even if it’s just to say hi.

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