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Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2009

SHE WASN'T ASKED AND DIDN'T TELL.... Amy Brian, as a Kansas Army National Guard lieutenant, served honorably in Iraq. She was part of a convoy that was hit by an IED; she worked 12-hour shifts at Camp Anaconda; and her superiors asked her to narrate award ceremonies.

By all appearances, Amy Brian is the type of proud, patriotic American we would all want to wear the uniform. Upon returning home after a tour of duty, Brian was given a job reorganizing the Kansas Army National Guard's government purchase card program. Except now she's been discharged -- because someone found out Brian is gay. (via Sullivan)

No one in the military asked her if she was gay during her nine years in the Kansas Army National Guard. And she didn't tell anybody in the military she was gay.

"I'd never really tried to hide my homosexuality to the close people I worked with," she said. "And they didn't really seem to care or think any different of it."

But in August 2008, a Kansas Army National Guard lieutenant informed Brian she was being investigated for homosexual conduct after a female civilian co-worker at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office said she had seen Brian kissing a woman in the checkout line at a Wal-Mart store.

From the moment the co-worker made her statement, Brian's performance record and the sacrifices she had made to serve her country in Iraq no longer mattered.

Brian is the first gay person to be "separated" -- or discharged -- from the Kansas Army National Guard based on the "don't ask-don't tell" policy.

She joins nearly 12,500 other lesbian, gay and bisexual service members who have been discharged by the Pentagon from 1994 through 2007.

"I was not separated because of any type of misconduct but plain and simply because someone else had a problem with my sexuality," Brian said.

The White House has said it is reviewing the DADT policy and plans to scrap it. My advice for the administration: with Amy Brian in mind, hurry.

Steve Benen 11:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (35)

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Comments

DADT is stupid policy, and should be overturned ASAP.

We have a volunteer armed force, and men and women who enlist are volunteering to (potentially) die for their country.

Posted by: Tigershark on February 11, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, how far we've come; she was just kicked out of the Guard. Oscar Wilde went to prison. . .

Posted by: DAY on February 11, 2009 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps suspending it during the review is in order.

Posted by: doubtful on February 11, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Doubtful:

I dont think they can, they need to change the law.
Congress?

Posted by: J on February 11, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, how far we've come; she was just kicked out of the Guard. Oscar Wilde went to prison. . . -- DAY,
@11:24

And, in the Middle Ages, one went to the scaffold. Truly, we have progressed with blinding speed...

Posted by: exlibra on February 11, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

This is a stupid policy which can't go away fast enough. I served before DADT was implemented and heard all of the nasty jokes (mainly directed against gay men--all the guys seemed to find the thought of two women kissing intriguing), and some of them (nasty jokes) still seem to be around from talking to my friends who are still in. But, just like desegregating the military, attitudes within the service are changing RAPIDLY and almost nobody seems to care anymore. Note that it was a civilian who ratted her out. And off-post at that. Some people need to get a life.

Posted by: Michigoose on February 11, 2009 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I had the pleasure a few years ago to be at an event I enjoy, and to end up in the company of a vicious public homophobe, who was displaying his homophobia to one and all despite there being no one around to have provoked it.

It felt really, really good to punch him in the mouth so hard that when he fell over backward he arched over and his head hit the concrete first.

And no one else in the group - many of whom I know personally are not "pro-gay" - saw a thing when he demanded someone "do something about this!"

I really suggest homophobes be confronted for their bullshit whenever you run across them - particularly if you (like me) aren't gay, since that will drive the nut nuts and it also gives others around who may be supportive - but not necessarily willing to do so publicly on their own - a reason to step up. You don't need to punch the moron, but you'll find that publicly shaming the idiot isn't as hard as you might think. If we can't change their minds, we can at least shut them up.

Posted by: TCinLA on February 11, 2009 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, Congress and Obama; time to get busy repealing DADT. But kissing a person of the same sex is "homosexual activity"???? Good thing Jesus wasn't in the National Guard. On the other hand, he never shopped at Walmart.
. . . jim strain in san diego.

Posted by: Jim Strain on February 11, 2009 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

I got kicked out under DADT a bit over five years ago, and would give anything to get back in. The military is screwing itself over. I was a West Point cadet, an officer in training, and was willing (and still am) to die for my country. I'm praying for the day that this gets repealed and I can wear the uniform again.

Posted by: Quinn on February 11, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

they're willing to recruit car-jackers and petty thieves instead to keep quotas high. Thank you GWB, scourge of the nation.

Posted by: RebornAmerican on February 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Since we all know now (thanks to Sarah Palin) that Governors are the commanders of their National Guards, can't Gov Kathleen Sibelius countermand this order? One would think that she would find it deplorable too, but maybe her incipient Senate run is getting in the way?

Posted by: Mimikatz on February 11, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

So sad and ignorant - In '63 in West Germany, and with no DADT provisions, our artillery unit lost a fellow who had just been promoted to E-6 and received the "Soldier of the Month" award. We all stood at attention in the quadrangle honoring him, one day, and he was dismissed within days. Some Pvt went to the Chaplain and complained about observing the SSgt with another enlisted man in the barracks. The Chaplain, believed, it was his "duty" as an officer to file a report. Just loved that duty of being an officer first, a chaplain second and a human being last.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 11, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

can't Gov Kathleen Sibelius countermand this order?

Nope. If you look at a Guardsman in uniform you can't tell the difference (unless they have a rented not owned haircut) because above the pocket on the right side of the shirt, it reads "U.S. Army" not "(whatever state) National Guard."

Posted by: Blue Girl on February 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

...and coming next in the right-wing blogs, another story about how Saudis are so intolerant.

Posted by: ally on February 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

So much senseless waste.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that fraternizing with one of higher/lower rank, adultery, and a few other practices are against the UCMJ. How about we expose and expel all who have "committed" these crimes? We would end up with very few to fight the enemy outside of us, and would have to confront the enemy within. That is the true enemy. With all the eye-motes in positions of authority, where is the vision to even see the splinters in the eye of another?

I am committed to Oneness through Justice and Transformation
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on February 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

It seems ridiculous to point out that there are kisses, and there are 'kisses.' Aside from the insanity of DADT, especially in this day and age, how can anyone observing same sex people kissing in a public place automatically call this homosexual activity?

Americans deserve to drown in their sea of Puritan immaturity.

Posted by: rich on February 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Death, taxes and the always successful gay bashing. Those are the three constants in U.S. politics and life in general. We may grudgingly come to accept those of other races (see: Obama) or other religions. Ohio State fans might have a beer with Michigan revelers. Your wife will even stand at your side as you apologize to constituents for fucking the entire staff of the Tenth Street Brothel and Pancake House. However, the comfort of hating on gays ranks up there with purring kitties and a warm drink in front of a fireplace on a cold winter evening. Gays will be made legal in the military over the dead bodies of various generals, colonels, majors and minors and several million evangelicals threatening to vote Republican in the next midterms. What percent of the populace is gay? OK, now what percent of the populace hates gays, is uncomfortable with gays, thinks gays are strange and perverted or is in a funk because their husband left them for that devastatingly hansdome fella waiting tables at Red Lobster? Democrats can do the math. Ms. Brian picked the wrong country to defend lo these many years. At least she was discharged before being called upon to attach electrodes to shaved testicles somewhere in a Syrian hellhole.

Posted by: steve duncan on February 11, 2009 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

All of those discharged through DADT should get together and form a defense contractor, like Blackwater, only competent and not evil.

Rainbowwater, or something like that. Then you could serve and even get paid better.

Posted by: doubtful on February 11, 2009 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Her OTH discharge is a crock of shit. Soldiers can't be be penalized just because of their coming out. After I came out to the military that I was transgendered, I tried to be the most perfect solider ever, as I didn't want to risk getting anything but an honorable. I hope she appeals her discharge and tries to get it upgraded.

Posted by: Amanda in the South Bay on February 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

PDA was socially unacceptable when and where I grew up. Now we see there is more than one reason to avoid it.

Posted by: CDW on February 11, 2009 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

She knew the rules when she accepted a commission - live with it.

Posted by: froggie on February 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting how much energy the Army puts into dismissing gay & lesbian soldiers (so many of whom serve honorably) when they are completely disinterested in prosecuting the MANY soldiers who rape and sexually assault their female colleagues.

Posted by: Gaia on February 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The striking point here is,

she was outed by someone not even in the Army or National Guard.

Posted by: alan on February 11, 2009 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

froggie, the traitor General Henry Wise CSA was defeated - live with it!

Posted by: berttheclock on February 11, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Republicans are keeping this one in their back pocket for now. Obama was pretty clear that he wanted DADT gone. If his stimulous package shows even a glimmer of success watch how fast Republicans will stimulate their base with some hot gay bashing...and the notion of gays serving in the military sends them into seizures even more than gay marriage.

Posted by: Saint Zak on February 11, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

"....they are completely disinterested in prosecuting the MANY soldiers who rape and sexually assault their female colleagues."

Posted by: Gaia on February 11, 2009 at 12:57 PM

Gaia, they have to practice their shock and awe tactics on SOMEONE before kicking down doors in various Iraqi neighborhoods, right?

Posted by: steve duncan on February 11, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Somewhere in KS, Fred Phelps is praising Jay-sus and wishing for more dead US Army personnel...

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on February 11, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

She knew the rules when she accepted a commission - live with it.

In case you weren't paying attention, she followed the DADT rules. What rules, exactly, did she break, "froggie"?

Jackass.

LT Brian's discharge is a dishonor for those who pushed it, including the civvy bluenose busybody who complained. What a sad, shameful waste.

Posted by: Gregory on February 11, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

. . . investigated for homosexual conduct after a female civilian co-worker at the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office said she had seen Brian kissing a woman in the checkout line at a Wal-Mart store . . .

Ah, so the ways of the old Soviet states didn't really die when the wall came down, they moved to Kansas. It warms the cockles of your heart to know that there are Real Star-Spangled American Patriots out there, snooping and informing for their country and its "values".

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on February 11, 2009 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK
SHE WASN'T ASKED AND DIDN'T TELL

DADT is basically, as I understand it, a eumphemism for stay completely in the closet. Almost anything that publicly (as in, "done in a context where someone else finds out about it") demonstrates a homosexual orientation (including any kind of homosexual conduct) is "telling".

(I'm not saying this is just, only saying that this is how I've understood it to work from its inception.)

Posted by: cmdicely on February 11, 2009 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

She should sue, ACLU willing to take it on?

It's discrimination, and that tide has turned...it's time to send it to the courts and geld the bigots for good.

Posted by: charlie on February 11, 2009 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Can I just say how screwed up Kansas is?
They are beginning to make Mississippi look like the cradle of the Renaissance by comparison.
1- some dumbass reports this soldier
2- "we don't need to teach no stinkin' evil-ution in our schools"
3- Kansas' congresssional delgation, etc. are making a big stink about how they will, under no circumstances, accept prisoners from Guantanamo at Leavenworth, the toughest federal prison in the country.
Tough enough to bash gays and scientists but not lock up a hundred or so guys imprisoned without trial.
Is it any wonder that "In Kansas alone, there are more than 6,000 ghost towns"? People can't leave fast enough.

Posted by: JJ Daddy-O on February 11, 2009 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

"She knew the rules when she accepted a commission - live with it."

Posted by: froggie

Then ruck up and take her place, high speed.

The Army is going to still need bullet-stoppers.

Personally, I would rather trade in the knuckle-dragging, taxpayer-wasting, mouth-breathers I had the mispleasure to serve with in the Army for a good soldier, who just happens to be gay, any time of the day.

Posted by: 2Manchu on February 11, 2009 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

As a gay man who received a letter of commendation from my commanding officer precisely four months before I was discharged from the Navy, I can only sympathize and hope that President Obama will order that we stop this insanity. He almost certainly CAN order the Pentagon to stop processing these discharges. Our troops serve not only as a volunteer force, but also serve along side of troops from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, and other nations which DO NOT DISCRIMINATE. It's about time we grew up.

Posted by: Dave on February 14, 2009 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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