Booed Gay Soldier Speaks Out


Army Captain Stephen Hill, the gay U.S. soldier booed during a September GOP debate, has spoken out for the first time since the event over how it felt for his question to be booed and why he believe’s Rick Santorum’s response to his question on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” showed a deep misunderstanding of the issues LGB servicemembers face.

Readers may remember that Hill submitted a YouTube question to the September 22 Orlando GOP debate, asking:

“In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq, I had to lie about who I was because I’m a gay soldier and I didn’t want to lose my job. My question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that’s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?”

This prompted a handful of the GOP debate audience to boo, which then precipitated an entire boo-related discourse that even saw President Obama condemn those voices over their lack of respect.

Regardless, the question went over to hopeful Rick Santorum who immediately launched into rhetoric surrounding his opposition to any kind of sexual activity in the military. Said Santorum:

“Look, what we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now and that’s tragic. I would just say that going forward, we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. Period. That policy would be reinstituted and as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in conformity to what was happening in the past, which is — sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself — whether your’re heterosexual or homosexual.”

You can watch a video of the entire incident here.

Speaking out publicly for the first time since that incident, Hill told the Associated Press in an interview published last week how it felt to be booed:

“When the actual booing occurred, my gut dropped out, because my first inclination was, did I just do something wrong?” he said. “The answer, obviously, wasn’t very supportive of gay people, and there was a lot of fear of how the Army would take the question.”

Hill also discussed Rick Santorum’s answer, saying that Santorum’s reply misunderstands the entire “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” issue and the remaining restrictions the Defense of Marriage Act places on LGB soldiers and their families:

“This is not about sex,” Hill said. “A special privilege is not hiding pictures in my house or God forbid, taking mortar fire again and not knowing if Josh will be recognized. I’m fighting every day to protect everyone’s rights as human beings, and it seems counterintuitive for me to be fighting for those rights and not have them.”

Hill and his partner have joined other LGB servicemembers in a lawsuit that aims to secure for married same-sex couples the same partnership rights as heterosexual couples, something they are currently denied per the Defense of Marriage Act’s restrictions on federal recognition of same-sex unions.

You can read more about Hill, including what treatment he received from military superiors following his debate question and more on the lawsuit he is now a part of, in the Associated Press interview here.

Related Reading:

LGBT Morning Mix: Statements on DADT’s Demise

Gay Soldier Comes Out to Dad to Mark DADT’s End (VIDEO)

Celebrate the Repeal of DADT Today (VIDEO)


Image taken from YouTube debate video under Fair Use terms, no infringement intended.


Marianne Good
Past Member 4 years ago


Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Barbara Y.
Barbara Y.6 years ago

Respect is something that they taught us back in the 60s. It has been kicked to the curb in this country. I think George Bush has won, he has successfully turned this country into a hateful, sexist, racist and very bigoted country. I, for one, cannot abide seeing the USA go down the tubes and it is. I think if the US would bring back good education, things might change, but the Repugs and the Tea Party platforms are all for dumbing down this country, after all, their constituents are dumbed down, just look at Santorum or Bachmann or hahah Rick Perry. And, to boo a soldier, a President or a First Lady is not only repulsive but speaks volumes about the lack of education in this country...we call em rednecks!

Char L.
Char L6 years ago

At the time DADT was instituted by President Clinton, back in 1992 (I think), it was a very progressive thing to do. Homosexuals were explicitly forbidden from serving, and recruiters ASKED applicants about their sexual orientation - even if one had only "experimented" it was enough to bar them from enlisting. (I know this - I was a recruiter.) So basically, it gave a green light to gays to serve as long as they stayed in the closet - an improvement, and a step in the right direction.

Now we have advanced in our attitudes, and DADT is seen as regressive, which today it is. But these troglodytes like Santorum probably want to regress to BEFORE even DADT, when even thinking about being gay would keep you out.

Good for Capt. Hill, and I'm glad the new "social experiment" is underway. People said the same thing about integration when Truman ordered it. Actually, I think the repeal of DADT is encountering less resistance. In any case, it turned out fine. If you can't live in the 21st Century, then maybe you need to move to Iran.

Nicole B.
Nicole Bergeron6 years ago

As long as ones aim is straight is shouldn't matter what ones sexual orientations is. I f you are being shot at you won't care who is next to you because they are being shot at too and you'll get shot if you try and move away from them.

I applaud him for speaking out

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Cathy C.
Cathy C6 years ago

The First Lady was booed a few days ago. Disgusting.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin6 years ago

In order to be a homophobe it has to occupy a significant part of your brain, and this means that homophobes are thinking about men/women rubbing penises/vaginas together in a 24/7 gay porno. That’s an awful lot of gay thoughts for supposedly straight people who hate gays. I bet even gay people don’t think about gay stuff as much as homophobes do.

Homophobes (aka Anti-Gay Movement) are not protesting against bestiality, pedophilia (with/without a priest involved), rape, sexual exploitation, or any other form of non-consensual sexual act in which a victim is forced against their will to participate

The Homophobes are protesting a private sexual act being performed by two consenting adults.


Homosexuals = fighting for the right to control their own behavior.

Homophobes = fighting for the right to control other peoples behavior.

Benny Rees
Benny R6 years ago

Captain Hill, you are an inspiration to all of us. Those excuses for human beings, who booed you, seem to prove the absolute truth, that some people tend to kow-tow to the strong, and kick the weak or marginalized. Captain Hill, please understand, that such 'people' are in a minority, and that most of us respect you, and recognize your wish for equality.

Matt P.
Matt P.6 years ago

You've got my vote Capt. Hill! Good for you! I'm proud of you!