[For gay soldiers, worry and hope in ban repeal] Part: 1 of 6
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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 1992
For Gay Soldiers, Worry
And Hope in Ban Repeal
By ERIC SCHMITT
Special to The New York Times
JACKSONVILLE, N.C., Nov. 14 -
For years, they have carried the bur-
den of double lives, existing behind the
cover of fictitious girlfriends and boy-
friends and marriages of convenience.
Behind their crisp salutes and the
don't-mess-with-me swagger, they hide
the fear of being discovered and
thrown out of the service.
Now, gay and lesbian soldierslook
forward to the day when President-
elect Bill Clinton will lift their veil of
secrecy by following through on his
promise to overturn the ban on homo-
sexuals in the armed forces. But they
are also anxious, fearing that a darker,
more troublesome time looms as the
tradition-bound military braces for one
of its greatest cultural changes.
The tremors of the brewing show-
down are palpable in this conservative
military town that is home to Camp
harassment at a
time of growing
Lejeune and its 43,000 marines and
sailors - the Marine Corps's largest
base in the Eastern United States.
"We just don't want them around us;
we just want them to stay out of the
Marine Corps," said Cpl. Russell Phil-
lips, a 23-year-old infantryman here.
Lance Cpl. Jeff Bynum, another 23-
year-old infantryman, said, "It would
be like putting me in the barracks and
the showers with women."
Gay soldiers here and elsewhere said
that publicized fears that rescinding
the ban would ruin morale played on
the worst stereotypes of gay people as
promiscuous sex fiends.
"That's ridiculous," said Danny M.,
a bisexual Marine sergeant who has
spent 12 years in the military, and who,
like all those interviewed, agreed to
speak only if his full name was not
used. "What I do in my private life I
keep totally separate from my work.
I'm not going to flaunt my private life
in front of them."
A 34-year-old Navy lieutenant com-
mander in Washington said, "The wail-
ing and gnashing of teeth at the Penta-
gon is almost biblical, but gay men and
women in the military are proud of
their uniform and they won't embar-
No one knows exactly how many
thousands of gay men and lesbians
serve in the 1.8-million-member armed
forces, but 14,000 have been discharged
for homosexuality over the last decade.
Sailors Support Ban
In the area around Norfolk, Va.,
home to more than 110.000 Navy oer-
Randy e v I The NcNw York lmes
Homosexual soldiers look forward to the day when they no longer have to serve in secrecy, but they are also anxious as the military braces for one
of its greatest cultural changes. A gay active-duty marine visited the Beirut Memorial at Camo Leieune in Tacksonville. N C
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[For gay soldiers, worry and hope in ban repeal], clipping, November 16, 1992; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc916880/m1/1/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.