[For gay soldiers, worry and hope in ban repeal] Part: 3 of 6
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L-- - Ho.".s "' ----- - -- - -- fofrw ard to the day when they no longer nave wi u . - 3 y- . NC
sailors - the Marine Corps's largest In the area around Norfolk, Va., Homosexualofits_________-_'
base in the Eastern United States. home to more than 110,000 Navy per- of ts greatest cultural changes. A gay active-duty marine visited the Beirut Memorial at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N..
"This is a very macho, masculine sonnel, opposition to lifting the ban is
homophobic bunch, and there will be widespread. Sailors often spend six year-old mechanic. "It would make me don't have no problem," said Specialist
some hell raised," said Gary Hen- months at sea, berthed in triple
drinks, a 25-year-old gay former Ma- stacked bunks. Several seamen said get out in a heartbeat." Fort Jackson.
rie corporal who decided to leave the avowed homosexuals would add intol- Most of the homosexuals who were
military last August after six years, erable stress to the cramped living Capt. Jeffrey Johnson, a 35-year-old
quarers comanycommnde at ortJackoninterviewed said that lifting the ban
including four months in Saudi Arabiaqures company commander at Fort Jacson' would r probably mean few outward
during the Persian Gulf war. 'Out at sea, there would be no place S.C., a large Army training center just changes in their lives. "I don't think
Low Profile Foreseen for them to go but after you," said outside Columbia, said openly gay sol- there will be a mad rush of raging
Gay marines interviewed here said Petty Officer 3d Class Dainyon Green, diers would provoke verbal confronta- queens down to the nearest recruiting
they would continue to keep a low pro- a 2-year-old cook on a Navy destroyer, tions and fights. "Heterosexual men que" said Mr. Hendricks, the former
filey amouncollguesteepan -AtyFortHoodTex, a huge Army will feel threatenedandothey'll"reta-ia-i M. endk former
file among colleagues ayftearah etncistallation that sent thousands of ate," he said. "The chain of command here "The two life styles just don't
and possible violence from other ma- troops to the Persian Gulf, some sol- will spend 90 percent of the time on mesh."
rines who oppose the policy change. diners said they would leave the Army discipline matters."
r fears seem warranted. e e- rather than servewith avowed homo- Other soldiers acknowledged that
sexual servicemen here and at bases sexual. Earlier this year 14 soldiers thousands of homosexuals serve ablyB fo ly
around teicomunr hexressd ang er th is eargedtafter a week- in the military now, often with the Given the current ban and the overt
around tencountry expressed ong otheg sureisc operation showed knowledge of sympathetic colleagues hostility toward homosexuals in the
osland coten id not try to disguise men involved in homosexual acts in a and superiors. These soldiers said they armed services, many people wond
t dheir feelings Some thi atoned to quit public restroom on the base would judge homosexuals on their job why gay men and women jon such an
their seegothoers saitheexpectdI ou crwoik with some guy who performance, not their sexual orienta- institution and make it a career.n said
harsmn of homosexuals to in- gay hoca you b ueyuwntgtto a iiaymnadwmnsi
crease n IDS said JamesPea son, a 26- "As long as they don't bother me, I that they were often unsure oe their
sexual orientation when they joined the - -* * -
military in their late teens or early
20's. By the time they acknowledged
their identity, these soldiers said, they
were reluctant to give up the parts of
military life they liked: camaraderie,dnr
TOexcellent education benefits, overseas - -->KN ~-
travel and leadership challenges.
Relying on underground social net-
works for support, gay marines here
say they stay in the service primarily
because of patriotism, but also to make
a point to senior military leaders.
"I want to prove that you can be gay
in the Marine Corps and be success-
ful," said one 30-year-old gay sergeant
here, who has earned elite assignments
like guard duty at the United States
embassies in Egypt and Finland. "If 1
got out because the military didn't like
my life style, I'd be giving up. I'm not a
Sacrifices Are Necessary
The sacrifices are substantial. Gay
soldiers say they must watch what they
say, switching pronouns from "he" to
Y"she" instinctively when colleagues '- - -.-
y o u ask about their weekend plans. Ma-CN
rines here agreed to speak to a report-
er only after being referred by trusted "If you work with some guy who's gay, how can you he sure you won't
K friends in Washington get AIDS?" said James Pearson, center, a 26-year-old Army mechanic.
wasKaricrpor a lesbian wh He spoke with William Clark at Fort Hood near Killeen, Tex.
~~was a Marine corporal for four years,
including eight months as an ammuni-
tion technician during the gulf war, he realized he was gay In a fit of pique,
said that when she joined the service, Clintons new he said, his wife told his commander
she married her best friend, a Marine last June.
corporal, to give her an alibi and to policy is already "My company commander dropped
double her $350 biweekly housingdal- ' a "My compny a nder dropped
lowance. She lived with her girlfriend; breWin g conflict the questioning after thinking about it
her husband lived separately. a s over the weekend the doctor said. "I
Twine reenlistment last May, Ms. think it was because he just didn't want
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[For gay soldiers, worry and hope in ban repeal], clipping, November 16, 1992; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc916880/m1/3/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.