This article is written by a friend of mine, a lesbian woman who has recently enlisted in the Navy. I asked her to write an article regarding her thoughts on being a gay woman entering into the military. Unfortunately, because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", she has requested to remain anonymous which I why I am posting this on her behalf. I've found the military storyline in the L Word to be a very important one and although I don't personally agree with many practices of the military (or the government in general), I have always supported our troops and have the utmost respect for people that enlist.
Remember the glory days of Sex in the City? I don't know about you, but I watched that show religiously. It was so endearing because it tried so hard to appeal to all single women not exactly in their early 20's anymore, which I was, at the time. But not only did I not in any way live a lifestyle at all similar to theirs (nevermind that they were all straight, save Samantha's lesbian tryst), I didn't know anyone that did. That's kind of how I've felt about the past few seasons of the L Word. I'm a lesbian, live in Los Angeles, I should identify with these women, right? So why was it that each episode left me feeling like this show was a mockery of the life I lived, a cute joke by someone who had no clue, rather than a representation of my life? Nothing rung true, until this season.
That's right. Hi, I'm a lesbian, and I'm joining the military.
At first, I didn't think it would be much of a problem. I know plenty of women that are out in the military. Hell, I even think they make bad pornos about it. Besides, how hard would it be to avoid talking about women with the straight guys? Oh, and I'm not really interested in horse racing.
That was before I started doing research. I read that while women comprise less than a quarter of the Armed Forces, almost half of all homosexual discharges are women. I was also reading about surprise bed checks in A school (the school that the military sends you to in order to learn your job), specifically, the A school that I'll be at, that resulted in a number of high profile discharges for homosexual conduct. Then, I started reading about jilted lovers, jilted friends, angry coworkers outing lesbians in the military, or even outing people that they weren't positive were lesbians just for vengeance. It was only then that I realized just how deep this closet I'm being provided with is. I know that the pros outweighs the cons, and this isn't a lifelong circumstance, but I must say that I'm scared. I'm scared because I don't know how hard it will be, and I'm scared that I won't be able to back out once I find that out.