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When 'Don't tell' comes with an extra '..or else'

by Jeremy Hooper

Despite sexual harassment being a punishable offense independent of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the anti-repeal set loves to talk about the supposedly lecherous gay soldiers who will supposedly throw themselves on every same-sex man, woman, or combat boot who gets in the way of their genitals. But what about the armed forces personnel who are not only stymied by DADT, but who are also unprotected against the very same kind of advances that the anti-fairness folk throw in the the pro-equality community's faces? Today's “Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” deals with exactly that:

"I lived in constant fear serving under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I was always looking over my shoulder, censoring what I said and keeping as much physical distance as Tracey Harris-1possible between my military life and my personal life.

Even with this vigilance, I was found out by some male “friends” at my first duty assignment. I was just 19 years old. The deal was simple: Perform sexual favors and my secret was safe.

I had a choice: report these men for “sexual harassment/cohesion” and end my military career or submit to their demands.

Despite the military’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, it doesn’t apply to those forced in the closet under DADT. I was sexually blackmailed and just a teenager.
Stories from the Frontlines: Former Army Sgt. Tracey L. Cooper-Harris [SLDN]

It's both sad and obvious. Because the real damage is not truth and transparency, despite the "pro-family" community's constant war on the same. The harm lies in, well -- lies. This weak attempt at separate but (un)equal is what is truly weakening security, cohesion, morale, and safety.

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