Along with the thousands of other gay and lesbian troops and veterans celebrating tonight, I have reason to hope my discharge papers will now be changed. I previously wrote about those of us who have had to carry military discharge papers that read, “Member stated he or she is a homosexual or bisexual.”
Why is it a problem? Because some new employers ask you to provide your discharge papers. Do you really want to be forced to come out to every potential employer even before you get the job? Coming out should be my choice, not the US military’s.
The Service Members Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is working with me, and others, to get that changed. I’ve already had my initial consultation and have moved forward with SLDN to petition for a change to my official records. Fortunately, for me and unlike many gays and lesbians of my era of service, the characterization of service was “Honorable.”
As soon as I receive word, I will keep the readers posted! I am optimistic the official reason might now be changed to administratively discharged. Tonight was a vindication but the official exoneration, for me, will occur when my discharge papers reflect it. It is an ugly stain on our country that institutionalized bigotry and discrimination was so bad they felt the need to place that statement on thousands of discharge papers for those of us who happen to be gay or lesbian.