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One Gay Man's Army

Society & Culture  (tags: media, military, propaganda, troops, gayrights, freedoms, law, media, rights, sadness, safety, society, usa, culture, dishonesty, americans, activists, abuse )

- 1967 days ago -
As soon as the Pentagon signaled that DADT would be ending soon, he enlisted in the Army in July 2011. A little less than a year later, he was being humiliated in front of almost three dozen people for being gay.


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JL A (281)
Tuesday December 3, 2013, 1:57 pm

Army Specialist Mike Merrill, an OutServe/SLDN Member stationed in Texas, was featured in an article last week on Atlantic Media's "The Wire." In the story, SPC Merrill describes the experience of coming out in a Combat Arms unit.

I hope you'll take a few moments to read his very compelling story:

SPC Merrill's story is repeated daily across our Armed Forces. It is a tale of scared young Service members needing support with no one to turn to.

"I was not 'out' because I refused to be limited by labels. I knew what I had been fighting inside for a long time, but I struggled to accept the truth."

His story describes the experience of many, if not most, of our rank and file members. It is a story of forced outings and harassment. It is a story about homophobic Service Members, some in key leadership billets, who are able to take advantage of the military system to advance their hatred. But it is also the story of good leaders stepping up to resolve the problems, leaders like SPC Merrill's Company Commander , who "wanted each Soldier to feel comfortable, and to build trust. "It is almost impossible to see or hear everything that goes on within a group of Soldiers as large as a company, I wanted SPC Merrill to know that he would be treated as every other Soldier would be treated and that if he was not I needed to know."

Best of all, it's a story with a happy ending where SPC Merrill realizes the importance and power of leadership by coming out and showing that he can exceed the standards.

"People think, 'Oh they're gay, so they can't do this'" ... "You're constantly fighting Yes, I can do a sub-13.2 mile, I can shoot expert."

Merrill believes unlike many of the people who opposed repealing DADT that the system works, and that people who don't uphold Army values will be made to stop. "It is possible to be gay and serve your country," he says. "It might be a little rough, but you can serve your country." This is the story of why we still need organizations like OS/SLDN. Mike sent us this message late last week:

"Thank you for what you do on our behalf. I am where I am today in part thanks to those in the OutServe group from the Fort Hood area. As a result of my article being posted, my battalion commander asked me for information that would be of benefit to other LGBT soldiers so that it can be made publicly available for their benefit. I have marched with OutServe in a couple parades and it has been an honor to march. Though the reporter did not include OutServe directly in the article as I had [OS/SLDN] is being presented to my brigade as a resource for LGBT soldiers. It's a small step in the right direction, and I'm proud to be able in a small way to highlight the excellent work that you each do."

Thanks Mike. We're proud of you too.

Never Giving Up,

John and Jeff

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 2:03 pm
Terrible. We are all the same.

marie C (163)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 2:44 pm
Nought as queer as folk
People are so 2 faced he can go and fight for them but can not be his own person in private

Dianna M (16)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 3:53 pm
'Courage under fire'--I'd say he displayed it, even before he saw combat.

S J (124)
Wednesday December 4, 2013, 4:25 pm
I am with you LGBT. Thanks JL A

Winn Adams (179)
Thursday December 5, 2013, 10:36 am
Wow, what a courageous man! All the best to Micah.
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