Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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"Graff says when the Pentagon's don't ask don't tell policy is repealed, he will seriously consider rejoinnig [sic] the Navy."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...


Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Yeah, I have a pretty stong hunch that it was a political stunt - join, get tossed, make a name for yourself on the issue. I mean, the lad, "prior to enlistment worked on Democratic political campaigns, including Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean's bid for the presidential nomination,"
and "Graff wanted to join the [Groton Democratic Town Committee], an elected position, but couldn't because he was in the military" -all from the article in The Day.

2/01/2006 5:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gay Sub School? Cross dressers, too?

No, BH, you would insist they wear the proper uniform of the day. Let other countries have relaxed standards. Americans have too much to lose.

Show me one country that flies a gay flag. Ever wondered why?

2/01/2006 1:50 PM

Blogger half said...

Now Ima start to think about "Gay Flags" what would one look like? I guess you have to start with a lavender background with a plaid square in the Thursday sector. Other than that I dunnno.

2/01/2006 4:36 PM

Blogger Chap said...

It's a rainbow flag.

Like the flags I saw all up and down the black-turtleneck parts of San Diego.

Saw lots of them.

Not one American flag, though.

Wonder why.

2/01/2006 7:43 PM

Blogger bothenook said...

a rainbow flag? you mean like the french tricolor rainbow?
i know a couple of gays that were on teh boats, and i would not have one problem going to sea with them. great sailors, with just a little wrinkle. one of them was sailor of the year for a very large command. big, huge command. i guess i'm getting soft in the cabeza with my advancing age. when i was a pup, the thought of a gay on the boat woould have freaked me out. now, who the hell cares as long as a few rules of decorum are followed?

2/01/2006 10:48 PM

Blogger Alexander said...

Same, same BH.
I knew some, suspected others, but as long as they did their job and didn't make their sex life the central point of their existence, I really didn't care. When they put their bedroom habits ahead of everything else (the boat, their shipmates, their career, etc.) then I would just as soon see them go. Everyman counts on a sub, and you don't need someone with their priorities out of whack to be the weak link that takes the whole shooting match down (literally and figuritively).

2/01/2006 11:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


When the Army Rangers learn how to sleep two in a sleeping bag in cold weather, they suddenly have a much better understanding why the military and "Brokeback Mountain" have so little in common.

2/02/2006 12:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently serving on a boat and I know of two guys that are gay. One is quiet about it but everyone knows it because his significant other comes to the Christmas parties, send off's and home comings, ect. The other is openly gay and will even joke about it with the guys. They are both exceptional sailors and do a great job. The quiet one was capped to PO1 last year. As submariners, we all are really close and are used to being in tight quarters. We had one last year that transferred and our 3MC used to call him "precious". It was friendly (not that way) but funny. I don't know of anyone that is offended, put off or worried about either one of them. As long as they do their job and don't bother anyone then no one cares. I think the don't ask, don't tell policy is BS and should be repealed. Just my thoughts on the subject. Doc.

2/08/2006 12:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this important story. Just to clarify some things. This was in no way intended to be a "political stunt" as some have suggested. It is true I have a history in politics, and surely that background helped me develope my strong sense of values, but in no way did it influence me to come out to my command. My decision to come out to my command was difficult and was proceeded by deep contemplation about my morals, my Navy core values, and my desire to do what I believe is right. If you where to ask anyone who knows me well, my family, my friends, my shipmates, my recruiters, they will all tell you how passionate I am about the Navy and how proud I am to put on my uniform every day. My only wish is that I could put that uniform on ME, and not a made up double life of mine which DONT ASK DONT TELL forces me to do. As I have stated before, when DADT is repealed I will strongly consider re-enlisting in the Navy, so that I can fulfill my dream, and once again be proud to say I am a United States Sailor. Thank you. If you have any other questions comments please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to address any of them.

John Graff

2/16/2006 12:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you bubbleheads won't mind a quick coment from a target sailor. I served on two ships, a cruiser and a carrier, between '84 and '93. I loved being in the Navy. I was an ELT, and I was very good at my job. By most accounts, I was one of the best sailors onboard my ship. I was Sailor of Month twice (each ship), Sailor of Year once, 4.0 evals, NCM, NAM, etc. etc. You know the drill.

You guys know how strong the friendship bonds are that you make on your boat (or my ship). I left the Navy in 93 not because I was tired of it (like I told everyone), but becasue I was tired of lying about who I was. Tired doesnt really describe how I felt. See, My shipmates were the best friends and most trusted confidants I have ever had. (but i am not telling you guys anything you dont already know). I just couldn't take the continued living a lie, as it were. It seemed as though I was betraying my shipmates by living the lie.

I wasn't officially out to anyone becasue I didn't want to put them in a precarious position. However, I am sure my closest freinds figured things out. There were subtle jokes and inuendo. I am sure you understand what I am talking about.

Don't get me wrong. I was not a practicing homosexual during my time onboard (yeah, I know it is hard to believe). I was basically celebate for 8 years (I was "practicing" in Nuke school and prototype, but not once I went to a ship). But actions or not, I was definitely gay.

In spite of being an excellent sailor who loved the Navy (ask your surface puke friends, very rare amongst Nukes up there!) and even liked being at sea, I left. To be sure, it was my loss, but you know, somehow, I think the Navy lost a little something too.

Clinton should have kept his promise and let guys like me serve openly.

7/20/2006 7:36 PM


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