|Cadet Katherine Miller
[source: Pam's House Blend]
Katherine Miller is a cadet at the US Military Academy at West Point and one of the very best in her class. Or, rather, she was – before she resigned in protest of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Below is an excerpt from the letter she sent in which she openly outed herself as a lesbian and declared that she would gladly return for service once the military’s gay ban was repealed:
c. Specifically, I have created a heterosexual dating history to recite to fellow cadets when they inquire. I have endured sexual harassment for fear of being accused as a lesbian by rejecting or reporting these events. I have been coerced into ignoring derogatory comments towards homosexuals for fear of being alienated for my viewpoint. In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity and my identity by adhering to existing military policy.
d. While at the academy, I have made a deliberate effort to develop myself academically, physically, and militarily, but in terms of holistic personal growth I have reached a plateau. I am unwilling to suppress an entire portion of my identity any longer because it has taken a significant personal, mental, and social toll on me and detrimentally affected my professional development. I have experienced a relentless cognitive dissonance by attempting to adhere to §645 and retain my integrity, and I am retrospectively convinced that I am unable to live up to the Army Values as long as the policy remains in place.
Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars had this rather eloquent bit to add:
I read this and I can't help but think that this is something I would never have to endure as a straight male. Like so many other things that my gay friends have to deal with, I can simply take for granted that this would never happen to me. I don't ever have to give it a moment's thought.
I've never had to worry about my family rejecting someone I brought home to meet the parents -- or, far worse, rejecting me as a human being merely because of my sexual orientation. But I know so many people who have not only had to fear those things, they live them every day.
I have never had to face discrimination. I have never had to face the hatred and bigotry that so many people I care about have to face every day. I've never had to live in fear of being outed. But many people I care about have faced things and continue to do so. And it's not because I'm better than they are, it's only because some of our fellow human beings cannot get past their fear and the tribalism that it spawns.
Good points all and definitely things that most people simply don’t take into account often enough, myself included (being another White male). May those at the head of the Military finally see fit to rid the US’s armed forces and the self-sacrificing patriots within of that abominable policy – which is effectively nothing more or less than legislated discrimination – and may more soldiers like Cadet Miller return to service before long.