Gay Sub School Sailor Speaks Out
Several Connecticut media outlets are carrying a story about a Sub School Sailor who decided to "come out" to his command, and is now on his way out the door. From the article posted on the New Haven TV station's website:
"Graff's decision to come out has most likely sunk his boyhood dream of serving on a submarine. He enlisted in the Navy this past June and had planned to keep his secret.
"Graff says,"Hiding who I really am is contrary to what they teach you in the Navy. The core values of the Navy are honor, courage, and commmitment."
"Graff would like to finish submarine school but as an openly gay man.
"Folks here at the sub base say because this is a personal matter they cannot talk about Graff's meeting with his commanding officers. We were told though once a declaration is made it triggers an adminstrative procedure which ends in discharge...
"...Graff says he is speaking out for himself and those who cannot if they want to remain in the silent service.
"Graff says,"Nothing's ever gonna change if no one say anything or does anything."
"Graff says when the Pentagon's don't ask don't tell policy is repealed, he will seriously consider rejoinnig [sic] the Navy."
I imagine that most people who have spent much time in the Navy have known someone who got out because of homosexuality. I discussed a little of the backgroud last month (including the personal anecdote of my "lesbian" former girlfriend). In my 21+ years, I only had 2 guys at my commands get out for homosexuality; one was a guy who joined the boat at the mid-deployment upkeep, and decided to "turn himself in" after about two weeks at sea. The other was at my last shore command; the Sailor came in and told us that he had just finished filming a reality TV show -- kind of like "The Bachelor", but where gay guys and straight guys pretending to be gay competed for the affections of one guy. He told us that he "wasn't one of the straight guys".
The point is, he'd done a full tour on a boat before that, and had been a good Sailor. I'm sure most people had other shipmates that they either knew, or were pretty sure, were gay, and they did their jobs fine. It's only when they decide to make a big deal out of it either 1) to get out quickly, or 2) because they don't want to hide it anymore, that it becomes a big deal.
I'm wondering what would have happened if President Clinton had stood his ground back in '93, and not backed away from his plan to open up the Armed Forces to gays, and vetoed the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" bill. Maybe offered early outs to people who claimed they absolutely couldn't work with gays. My guess is that, while we would have complained about it, the military would have made it work, because that's what we do... the CinC says jump, we jump.
Standing by for incoming...