Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Harass, Don't Pursue

I joined the Army on Valentine's Day, 2006. I went through Basic Training and then Advanced Individual Training as a 63B Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic followed by Airborne School. I then went into an Airborne Signal unit that just returned from Iraq and was being disbanded. Life went on like any military career. One night, I was assigned to fire guard duty with a sergeant for 12 hours. This assignment was taken place in a small "mud room" and consisted of rounds every hour around the barracks. No computers, TV, or any other electric devices were allowed. The only things allowed were books, magazines, or other reading materials. There was a table in the room that served as a magazine exchange where people would leave and take magazines.

For this assignment, I brought a stack of magazines I intended to leave in the mud room, as well as a journal I kept that was filled with random musings, short stories, and other writings.

When the chow hall opened early in the morning, the Sergeant sent me to eat. While I was in the chow hall, the Sergeant called and told me the next fire guard shift had arrived and that I could go back to my room when I was finished. After 12 hours overnight, I was eager to go to sleep. I was so eager, that I forgot that I left the journal in the mud room. Included in the journal were writings about my homosexuality. Either the sergeant I served the assignment with or someone on one of the following shifts read my journal and turned it into the battalion commander. He then sent it to the captain of my company to whom I had to report a few days later. She had my journal in front of her and told me I was under investigation for violating the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. She said this journal could just be taken as creative writing.

The first sergeant of my company was also present with the captain and me during this meeting. In the days following the meeting, comments were made by the first sergeant and other soldiers. Comments such as, "that's as wrong as two boys *******" and other statements which were themselves violations of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. If these were said in the presence of the captain, she would glare with a smirk and shake her head at the person saying it, or hit them on the shoulder. As these comments began to increase, I tried to get transferred to a different unit. I was told this would take up to a year so I then decided to put the investigation to an end by telling the captain that I am gay. I wrote a statement confessing that I was gay and in about one week I was discharged. The Service member's Legal Defense Network helped to get the Honorable Discharge I deserved after they attempted to give me a General Discharge. On the "Reason for Discharge" section of my DD-214, it says, "Homosexual Conduct (Admission)". I spent a total of 15 months in the Army, leaving with the rank of PFC. Since this situation, I have come out fully as gay and will never return to the closet.
mverobeach1 mverobeach1
26-30, M
Jan 20, 2013