Young, Gay, and In the Military

As a 13 year old boy, I never thought of what it would be like to serve my country and be part of something bigger than myself until I joined Junior Air Force ROTC in high school. I quickly fell in love with the culture of the military and it seemed a perfect fit for me. I rose in rank, earned countless awards, and eventually became the Unit Commander, Class President, Key Club President, and chief formatter of the high school newspaper, cross country team captain, and lifeguard and swim instructor. By the time I had graduated, I was on my way to going to the Air Force Academy but decided to take my Air Force College ROTC scholarship. the AFROTC scholarship paid for $15,000 a year in tuition for four years, gave me a monthly stipend, $750 a year for books, and gave me the opportunity of becoming an officer in the Air Force when I graduate college. I am currently in my second year of the program and I am in the reserves as an E-3 until I commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. 

During those times, my sexuality never really played a large role, except for experimenting with the neighbor boy who was my age. I occasionally thought, "I'm Gay." Unfortunately that thought never fully manifested until about the summer of 2008. I had decided to move out of my parent's house, in the hopes of making it on my own, but learned the real world was much more difficult than I had thought, and moved back in. Feeling defeated I tried to get back into the normal routine of school. I had to wake up at 4 am to go to PT three times a week, and during the other mornings I attended mandatory ROTC classes, waking up at 4 am those days too. Having to juggle those responsibilities, plus regular classes, and trying to find a part time job in this troubled economy, I basically had enough. On top of that, I started trying to come to terms with my sexuality.

As a result of keeping all these thoughts and feelings to myself because I was too scared to write them down, I became extremely depressed. I could not tell my father, who was a Captain in the Air Force and had been to jail multiple times for his anger issues, as well as being admitted into the hospital for health issues. I could not tell my mother, who suffered from bi-polar disorder and had tried to commit suicide more than 5 times. I could not tell my 13 year old brother because of his severe mental depression, anxiety, and gastrointestinal issues. All my friends were military related, Mormon, Christian, or just conservative and I felt as if I could not tell them either. I could never really admit anything to the psychiatrists and psychologists I saw. I bottled everything inside until it became too much. 

I fell into a deep depression, and I am not taking medication to recover from it, as well as medication for extreme insomnia. I am on my way to getting better and I am getting ready to tell some of my closets friends about my sexuality. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to ask me and add me as a friend. I hope we can all share our experiences within this group.

- Sundance Coconut

SundanceCoconut SundanceCoconut
18-21, M
10 Responses Feb 26, 2009

You're very brave. Good for you for breaking the straight soldier stereotype :)

I commend you on your continued efforts to improve yourself and make peace with who you are. Life isnt' easy for any of us and it seems like you need to take more time for yourself. The world will still be there when you come out of your experience. Best of Luck!

As a 50 year old Gay, retired Navy, and Mormon I know that telling someone can be scary, but I think you are safe as long as you tell a friend a true friend even a Mormon friend, if they love you they will stand beside you.

please respond to me. i am 19 and want to join the armed forces.. and i am a lesbian.. please respond back i am new to this sight and your story amazed me :)

HelloSundance.. Hang in there Im sure sooner or later you can find someone to talk too and understand your situation.We all experience depressions but be strong and don't isolate your self and you can overcome it.

I was moved by your stories ,hope u are positive to your military life .i was depressive to my sexuality too .i 've never had sex with others since i left university in the year 2010.just need myself by ******* off .my parents are traditional and conservative and i don't believe they can accept that i was a gay.but i am a optimist .i think sex is just one part of my life .i could make a good performance in career development to lessen the pain in sexuality .just what i mean .gald to make friends with u ! david who is from china.

I served in the army when you had to keep your sexuality hidden, even though some of the guys new and were okay with it, others made it really difficult at times especially when someone went to my commander officer and snitched on me! I was honorable discharged and started a new life for myself, even though I would of enjoyed staying in the military! No regrets, right!!

I am a bi-sexual career airman in the US Airforce. I have been in long enough to retire and I will very soon. I fully support gays, and bi-sexuals right to serve openly in the military. Hang in there and please talk to someone. You will make a fine addition to the Airforce.

I am a gay veteran. I served 3 years of a 4 year enlistment. I was only 17 when I went into the Navy. Substance abuse, and NJP at that time resulted in my early (General under Honorable conditions) discharge. You have alot of courage - you are worthy and I applaud your sacrifice and service. This is a tough time to choose a military career - doubly hard if you're gay - you're awesome - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Good Luck.

Hello - I am working on a documentary for HBO about Don't Ask Don't Tell. We are searching for gay soldiers and would love to hear your story. You can stay anonymous. If this interests you please contact me at docfilm09@gmail.com.<br />
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Thanks,<br />
John