The Enemy Within

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell?'— Or Seek And Destroy? The Military's New Gay Purge

According to the Navy's General Medical Officer Manual, "one way of looking at homosexuals in the military is to distinguish between those who adapt to the military environment and those who do not. The adapters are invisible and do not seek to disclose their homosexuality." But fewer are finding it possible to remain invisible in an atmosphere of taunting and harassment, of threats arising on all sides, and of the dissembling that is its own form of death.

Brandon Dubroc filed for discharge from the navy on the eve of a six-month deployment. Dubroc originally enlisted because he "honestly enjoyed the discipline, the strict core structure, the fact that everything in the military is black or white." He also relished the "opportunity to serve my country. I'm patriotic, believe it or not." Dubroc says of himself that he "doesn't fit the stereotype of gay." He was never publicly identified as such in the service. Yet he found it increasingly difficult to "exist in this atmosphere of ridicule and hiding and constant discrimination," as shipmates joked openly and repeatedly that " 'nobody'd better be queer, because in the navy we kill our fags.' " Dubroc made a decision to seek discharge in 1998, "when I heard some guys talking and saying, 'If we find one on the ship, we'll throw him overboard.' I realized then that I couldn't go to my command and say, 'Look, this is what has been said,' because then it's me they'd investigate." Not wanting to choose "between silence and being murdered by my shipmates," Dubroc concluded that the only recourse was to sacrifice his career by committing an act whose probity has greater moral dimension than the man in the White House can ever hope to achieve. He came out.

Research assistance: Lou Bardel

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