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Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003
File 011
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Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 011. 2003-04-11. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 27, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/792.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(2003-04-11). Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 011. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/792

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003 - File 011, 2003-04-11, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 27, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/811/show/792.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Voice, No. 1172, April 11, 2003
Contributor
  • Weaver, Penny
  • Crain, Chris
Publisher Window Media
Date April 11, 2003
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 31485329
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 011
Transcript 10 APRIL 11, 2003 www.houston voice.com HOUSTON VOICE national news Little support for partners of military gays ■MILITARY GAYS, continued from Page 1 of gays in the military deployed to the war in Iraq, while Lauren is among the partners left behind who must conceal the true nature of their relationships. Gays deployed to Iraq and other locations in the Persian Gulf region must endure the same fears and family disruption associated with war as their hetero- sexual counterparts, according to officials with the Serivcemembers Legal Defense Network, a military watchdog group that assists gay service members. But unlike their heterosexual compatriots, SLDN says, gay service members and their same-sex spouses must endure the added fear of being ensnared in the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which calls for the immediate discharge of gay service members who disclose their sexual orientation. Although gays can secure a discharge under the policy whenever they wish by coming out of the closet few chose to do so, said Steve Ralls, SLDN's communications director. Ralls and Kathy Wescott, an SLDN attorney, said the organization is flooded with inquiries by gay services members seeking advice on communicating with loved ones at home without violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Benefits missing in action On top of the pain of saying goodbye to their loved ones, partners of gays in the military discover that they do not qualify for a wide range of military programs available to other service members' families. Among them are spouse support groups, emergency financial -aid and regularly scheduled briefings on the status of the units to which service members are deployed. The Metropolitan Community Churches, a Los Angeles-based network of gay-supportive Christian denominational congregations in cities throughout the US, has stepped in to provide some support services to partners of gays in the military, said Rev. Marty Luna- Wolfe, pastor of the New Life Metropolitan Community Church of Hampton Roads, Va. But Luna-Wolfe said congregations like hers, which ministers to gay service member stationed at the giant Norfolk, Va., Naval base, don't have the resources to match all of the services the military provides. There is little the church can do to alter the military's rules on partner notification, where gay partners can only be classified as ordinary friends on a special military list of next of kin. The military uses that list to contact the families of service members killed or wounded in action. "The military will contact everybody on the list," said Heather, the p-artner of an Iraq-bound Army reservist who was called into active duty last month. "But it will take longer for those who are not blood relative to be contacted." 'I'm going' Heather, 26, who .also asked to remain anonymous, has lived with her partner outside Philadelphia for more than eight years. The partner, 40, is an officer who has been in the Army reserves for more than 15 years and works full-time in a professional field in civilian life. Heather described how she learned that her partner's Army reserve unit had been activated last month and was being shipped out with less than two weeks notice. "One day she came back from drill," Heather recalls. "She just hugged me and would not let go. I said, 'What happened?' She said, 'I'm going.' So we had about a week to get our lives in order." Heather drove her partner to the airport, where the partner flew on her own to join her unit at a military base in the US. The partner expects her unit to be transported to the Persian Gulf, most likely Kuwait, within a week or two, Heather said. Military families are invited to see their service member loved ones depart for their overseas journey, but Heather isn't sure if she wants to go. "She would like me to see her We have to be careful about our usual way of talking to each other and touching each other," Heather said. Like Lauren, Heather said she doesn't want to compound the stress and challenges her partner faces in the coming weeks by coming out as lesbians. "I'm at a loss," Heather said. "I've been sending her mail. I sort of take things day by day. It's very hard." Although she doesn't think her letters are being monitored, Heather said she tries her best not to write anything that would cause problems for her partner. "I try to keep them general, like someone who just cares about her, to make it sound like a family" In doing this, she insisted, she is telling the truth. "I'm including our pets, a dog and four cats — a dog who is not happy his mom is gone." Anonymous e-mails Lauren, whose partner's ship is in the Persian Gulf, said the two consider themselves lucky because e-mail communication so far has been readily available, and the partner can sometimes call her on the ship's satellite phone. "Her e-mail is monitored for security," Lauren said. "So I set up an e-mail account without my name. I never put my name anywhere on it. It's not fool proof, but it's safer than using my regular e-mail." Within the confines of her anonymous e-mail messages, Lauren added, she feels free to express her true feelings. "We feel we have to communicate with each other," she said. "I tell her I love her and I miss her. I tell her that all the time." In describing her partner's job on the destroyer, Lauren said, "Her main duty is to sit at a console and watch a radar screen," which she said "sees a picture" of the surface and the air, including all ships, planes, and missiles in the Gulf. "If you want to know if the Gulf is dangerous, it is," she said. "The entire Gulf is considered a combat zone and a hot spot." Luna-Wolfe of the MCC Church in Hampton Roads said gay service members and their partners have been members of her congregation for years. She said the sudden deployment of thousand of troops in the Norfolk area, which is home to eight separate military installations, placed a great strain on military families, especially partners and loved ones of gay service members. "Like any denomination, our military members are coming to us for support," she said. "It's a place for partners and loved ones to talk and cry It's a place where they know they're not alone." Like family members of all service members, Luna-Wolfe said partners of gay troops engaged in combat in Iraq have been glued to their televisions, their emotions swinging from a sense of pride and joy to fear and horror. The gay service members, who mostly have adjusted to the task of having to conceal their sexual orientation, are sending back message of confidence, she said. "When they get to a phone — it's not very often — they always say, 'We're going to be alright.' They say that all the time," Luna-Wolfe said. Heather said the assistance that MCC churches plan to offer is sorely needed. "The one thing I would like people to know is we are so disconnected," she s-aid. "I have been left out of the loop of families of service members.... I don't have access to any of this." A MORE INFO Servicemembers Legal Defense Network P.O. Box 65301 Washington, D.C. 20035 202-328-3244 www.sldn.org Gay Marine seeks conscientious objector status Reservist says sexual orientation influenced his 'moral development' By IAURA DOUCLAS-BR0WN SAN JOSE, Calif—As an unknown number of gay soldiers serve in silence in the US. war against Iraq—banned from living openly by the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy — a gay Marine reservist came out earlier this month as part of his application for conscientious objector status. Lance Cpl. Stephen Funk, 20, drew national media attention when he held a press conference April 1 outside of the 1st Beach Terminal Operations, 4th Landing Support Battalion in San Jose — much more press attention than the plight of gay soldiers serving in Iraq receives. But Funk's case likely won't have much impact in the ongoing debate about gays in the military acconling to Aaron Belkin, director of the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara "Some opponents of inclusion could cite this case as evidence that gays and lesbians are not patriotic," Belkin said. "I do not think most people would find that argument compelling, however since even the Pentagon has agreed that gays and lesbians are as patriotic as everybody else" At the press conference. Funk said he didn't realize the full implications of military service when he enlisted last year. "I refuse to kill," Funk said. "It is scary to confront the military; because the military teaches you to submit to orders even when you object" As part of his application for conscientious objector status, Funk told military commanders that he is gay. "My moral development has also been largely affected by the fact that I'm homosexual." Funk wrote. "I believe that as a gay man, someone who is misunderstood by much of the general population, I have a great deal of experience with hatred and oppression." Flanked by his sister and mother, gay Marine reservist Stephen Funk spoke to reporters April 1 before turning himself in at his unit in San Jose, Calif. (Photo by Eric Risberg/AP) To some critics — including conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boom — the move smacked of someone willing to take any route to get out of the military "What we are seeing with what he is doing is obviously someone who doesn't want to serve," said Maj. Carolyn Dysart; spokesperson for the Marine Forces Reserve. Acknowledging his sexual orientation could make Funk eligible for discharge under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which bans openly gay service members. But triggering a possible DADT discharge isn't Funk's reason for saying he is gay according to Amy Allison, a conscientious objector from the first Gulf War who is serving as an informal adviser to Funk as he seeks similar status. "Stephen has never requested discharge for any other reason than being a conscientious objector — he is opposed to war," Allison said. "But there is a conflict between 'Don't Ask. Don't Tell,' which says people in the service shouldn't disclose their sexual orientation, and the regulations around applying for conscientious objector status, which require service members to be sincere and honest in outlining the influences on their moral development and why that is incompatible with military service."
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