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Lesbians and Gays in the Military

A Look at Don't Ask, Don't Tell


KB: If it had been during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell era”, would you have been forced to resign?

MHK: It’s up to the person in charge. It used to be a regulation under the uniform code of military justice (UCMJ). What it says is anybody who commits homosexual acts, including sodomy, can be discharged. But there is nothing about men and women doing sodomy. So that was what they used when they called people in. It was horrible what they would do to all of these folks.

So once “Don’t ask Don’t Tell” came into effect a person was not supposed to be investigated unless there was evidence to the contrary. So, they just couldn’t start doing a witch hunt, supposedly. Although that’s not true, because they still do that now. If you ask anybody on the street if gays can serve in the military, they will say yes. They’ll say, oh, yeah, they fixed that. Gays can serve in the military.

But the reality is they cannot.

Hard Times

It was one of the hardest things I had to do. I didn’t do anything wrong in my job. My sexuality had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The way it works now, they’re not supposed to ask, but they do. And the other thing is, what happens during war is they have a non-release policy. Which is an absolute ludicrous joke.

It means that no one can get out if they are in the enlisted ranks. Many of the people they kick out are enlisted. Plenty of officers are gay and lesbian, we go across all the ranks.

But anyway, in insurgence time, they say, nobody is being kicked out. When they have an investigation going on on somebody, or if they’re gay, they say, we need your body.

The Real Effect of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

So [the discharge] compromises strength. It breaks down camaraderie. It causes problems. Supposedly nobody wants to be in a foxhole with faggots, and yet, during war, that’s when they say you can’t leave. It seems to me that there’s a little incongruence here.

So I don’t understand why we can give our blood during war. We can be killed during war, but in peace time, they kick them out right and left.

The theory is, the unit could be compromised. Because you’re gay, a spy could come to you and say give me information about this nuclear bomb you guys have. That was one of the arguments they used. Which is stupid. Because look at the people who are giving the nuclear information. They’re all straight white guys. It’s the same kind of fear any human has about something they don’t understand.

KB: Last year 770 people were discharged for homosexuality. How is that when you’re saying people aren’t being discharged because we’re at war?

MHK: They could be people who are in jobs that are not overseas, where they’re not in a position where they need that body. But it’s obvious that the numbers went down significantly since there’s a war going on.

When I was on my book tour I met a woman. She went to the first Gulf War as openly lesbian. She was in the reserves. She was an enlisted person. But she was openly defiant about going there and telling everyone that she was a lesbian, to prove a point. She went there and she did serve and they knew she was a lesbian and when she came back and the war was over, they kicked her out.

Somehow we’re okay when somebody is shooting bullets at us, but we’re not okay when somebody is handing us a paycheck.

It just doesn’t make sense. It absolutely doesn’t make sense.

KB: It’s the exact opposite argument that they’re using, I don’t want to be in a fox hole with a homo.

MHK: Exactly. That’s their biggest fear, that someone is going to make a pass a them in the shower. What is wrong with saying, “You know, I’m kind of flattered that you’re checking me out, but I’m not interested.” You think they’re going to come around and rape you? Not usually.

KB: When did you come out?

MHK: I really realized I was a lesbian when I was about 25. There used to be a question, “Do you have any problems with drugs, alcohol, or homosexuality.” And I said no, because I did not have a problem. I feel I didn’t lie.

I don’t believe that is on the current form.

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