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Open to Serve

August 26th, 2011


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

Creative Commons License photo credit: DVIDSHUB

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Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

The TARP Money Maker

Yesterday the Treasury announced that it would let 10 of the largest TARP recipient banks to start paying back as much as $68 Billion of the $200 Billion that was given out. While this is definitely a good sign we are not yet in the clear.

ROBIN SIDEL and DEBORAH SOLOMON of the Wall Street Journal write?

While the collapse of the U.S. banking system is no longer seen as an imminent danger, access to the capital markets remains difficult and bank balance sheets are clogged with troubled loans and other assets. Most of the nation’s 8,000 banks are being hammered by the recession, and the number of bank failures is expected to climb. The 10 banks seeking to return government money will be able to continue leaning on the U.S. government in other ways, including by issuing debt guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.


Read the rest of this entry »

Hand Shake-gate

AP Photo

AP Photo

Apparently if the President of the United States decides to shake the hand of any leader of a foreign country that doesn’t like the United States, when they meet at an international conference, he is committing some sort of mortal sin and treason against the country he was sworn to defend; at least that is what Newt Gingrich would have you believe.

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

No Mr. Gingrich, shaking hands with the leader of a hostile nation couldn’t in any way be seen as simple civility.

Budget and Stimulus

So last night the House passed Obama’s stimulus package, No Republican’s voted for it. That seems like a hefty gamble for the GOP.

Yesterday the Govenor issued the budget for FY 2010. I havn’t had a chance to check it out yet.

Union Greed

I’ll be the first to admit that I believe that teachers in general are sorely under paid and need increases, and the Governor is doing his best to keep from cutting the state Education budget by the nearly accross the board 6.5% that the state budget is taking, but it just seems a tad unseemly to me that the Des Moines teachers union is asking for a 6.5% compensation increase (4% of which is a sallary increase) while thosuands of fellow Iowans are loosing their jobs due to the global economic crisis. Didn’t President Barack Obama just ask us all to serve our country and be prepared to make sacrafices in order to get us out of the economic black hole we are currently in or did I hear that wrong in the speach?

Also posted on The Pajama Pundent

Morning Commentary


It’s just after 2am in the morning and I’m wide awake. That generally isn’t a good way to start the day. Since the plant has been working only 4 days a week, I worked out a deal where I could work 10 hour days so that I could keep my 40 hours. It took a little convincing but after being there for nearly 12 years now, which is rare in a company where the average career term is less than a year, they seemed to agree that I deserved a bit of a break. The downside to this is that I get home shortly after 7pm, and I’m generally in bed by 8 and asleep by 8:30. It has thrown my body clock completely out of whack. /sigh

Media Blitz

Browsing through the morning news, I see that our governor, Chet Culver, has been hitting all the economic and industry meetings he can in Des Moines, pushing his plan to cut as much as 6.5% from every single program in the state budget. Iowa is currently facing a 700 million dollar budget short fall this year, and thus the drastic cuts. The general public doesn’t have much of an idea what the state can expect to get money for and how much from the Obama stimulis plan, but the governor seems to believe that we will get several million dollars for roads. Would be nice if the city of Grinnell would finally repave the rest of Broad Street and stop with the stupid brick designs.