Queerty is better as a member

Log in | Register
THIS MAN'S ARMY

Lesbian Soldier Claims She Was Assaulted By Commanding Officer For Being Gay

Huffington Post’s A.J. Wakely is reporting on a female Army captain who says her commanding officer pushed and insulted her and her girlfriend when he saw them dancing at the Cavalry Squadron Ball.

“I was just shoved across the dance floor by my command sergeant major for being gay… lovely end to my active duty career,” the officer, whom Wakely calls “Lucy,” posted on Facebook.

Lucy says she was dancing with her girlfriend, who is in her unit, when their Squadron Commander told them, “You [both] need to stop dancing; the unit does not need this kind of publicity.”

The unit’s Command Sergeant Major (CSM) then approached Lucy and told her what she was doing was “wrong”:

I reminded him that DADT was repealed… He then lowered his voiced and said, “You’re a f***ing abomination, ma’am. You know what the f*** you did wrong and you’re a disgrace.”

He stepped in closer to me within an inch of my face and told me to “have a good f***ing night, ma’am.” I told him I didn’t know why he was so angry and that I didn’t do anything wrong. He then told me to “get the f*** out of my face.”

I remained calm from being absolutely stunned and confused by his behavior, and told him he was out of line; reminding him that I’m an officer he’s talking to. When his threats didn’t work and I didn’t move, he shoved me hard across the dance floor and told me to “have a good f***ing night, ma’am.”

Lucy says the Squadron Commander called to apologize and let her know “that he accepts us as being gay and it in no way changes how he feels about us as officers.” He told her the incident was ” a misunderstanding… that I took it the wrong way.” When he suggested she drop the matter, Lucy told him the event was a hate crime—particularly alarming because “an officer was assaulted by the most senior ranking enlisted [member of the unit].”

Though she’s pursuing justice, Lucy said the incident is “in no way… a good depiction of the military”:

I think it’s important that America sees how LGBT servicemen and women are serving their country with honor, and shouldn’t be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Most military personnel agree with that statement, and the support conveyed from so many of them and their spouses after seeing me assaulted by my Command Sergeant Major reflects just that.

We applaud Lucy’s bravery and honesty, but without knowing the particulars its hard to determine exactly what happened, especially since she indicated her career in the military was over.  We hope Lucy feels comfortable sharing the whole story with the media.

Photo: Expert Infantry

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Apr 23, 2012
Tagged: , , ,
  • 17 Comments
    • Caleb
      Caleb

      I know this is going to be hugely unpopular, but she has no right to date someone in her own unit. I served as an officer in the Navy and fraternization among people in the same command is completely inappropriate and against the UCMJ. It does not matter if you are gay or straight.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 7:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Plankton Menace
      Plankton Menace

      Here we go, the troublemakers and malcontents are coming out of the woodwork to ruin it for everyone else.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 7:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patricio
      Patricio

      Caleb — Although I also tend to frown on relationships within the same unit, unless both women were in each other’s chain of command, then the relationship does not technically violate fraternization rules or the UCMJ. This is a female captain assigned to a Cavalry squadron (equivalent to a battalion), meaning that she has to be serving in the squadron staff (since women cannot be in the subordinate cavalry troops). It is well within reason that she might be the squadron S2 (intelligence chief) and the girlfriend another staff chief (like the S6, signal; or S1, personnel). Such a relationship would not be against military policy were they straight or gay. Now, Command Sergeant Majors of combat formations are like gods in most units; he’ll likely just be told to watch himself in the future and nothing more.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 9:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cl.nelson@frontiernet.net
      cl.nelson@frontiernet.net

      What do you think would have happened if a staff sergeant had shoved a hetero captain across the floor? He would have been handcuffed and thrown into a cell that evening.
      The Squadron Commander also has some basic command lessons to learn.
      So privates can go out and punch their drill sergeants ??? Yay, finally the Army is coming around.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 10:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Callum
      Callum

      It’s disgusting that the CSM assaulted a lesbian officer. It’s also disgusting that her story is being doubted in a time where assault, sexual or otherwise, against LGBT people is so prevalent. “Claims she was assaulted”? “Without knowing the particulars”? Lucy pretty much recounted the whole story, so what more particulars do you need? Why is an assault victim expected to be scrutinized over every detail of their story before they’re believed? She said as much as she wanted to, and there’s no reason to expect her to go into every detail to “prove” her story.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 10:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Geri
      Geri

      Uptight a-hole who had had too much to drink?

      The thing that gets me is that in most social situations it’s considered perfectly acceptable for two women to dance with each other.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Form Army
      Form Army

      There Repal is there, the regulations, directives, and guidance are not there either for military or civillian.

      As for the CSM, well he should be tapepd for retirement or discpline. If he had felt her up it would be definitive grounds, but the hatred he spouted could escalate to violence and shuld not be taken lightly.

      Many of us have served in the service, many you might not even know. There are alos thoses who cannot serve, because of a Genetic, or medical congential anomoly that is older than any ship, aircraft or policy in military.

      Since LGB can serve the documentation, the diversity training, and the harassment, and discrimination, POSH, etc need to reflect that.
      Besides maybe he was jelous because she and her date werre better looking than anyone he had ever dated.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kevin
      Kevin

      I just want to make clear, to those reading who aren’t completely aware of military ranks, a Command Sergeant Major is not anybody’s “Commanding Officer,” not actually being an officer in the first place. In a technical sense, she actually outranks him, though considering his seniority and his position she wouldn’t really be in a position to exercise that authority.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 11:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryne
      Ryne

      @Caleb: that shouldn’t matter. her commanding officer had no right to act in that manner. it is completely unacceptable, and i applaud her for not backing down.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Bedwell
      Michael Bedwell

      This is more proof that the pretty words and PowerPoint slides of repeal “implementation” weren’t enought to reverse more than two and a half centuries of institutionalized homophobia in the military. But I’m also shocked that someone who cares about equality for gay and lesbian service members as much as the linked article’s author obviously does is just as obviously unaware that “discrimination” IN the military became OFFICIAL policy along with repeal. For others similarly unaware, of course, I’m not talking about the treatment of “Lucy” and her partner at the dance, but the ARBITRARY refusal by the Pentagon to include gay troops in the protections against harassment and discrimination in such things as performance evaluations and promotions [and options for redress] under the Military Equal Opportunity Program that is automatically given nongays on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, and religious or political affiliation.

      In addition, those in a relationship—even if they were legally married in, e.g., New York state or the District of Columbia—are ARBITRARILY denied access to some important benefits such as access to military family housing that, unlike other benefits, are not, repeat NOT banned by DOMA. In preparing for DADT implementation, the Pentagon put forth various excuses for such discrimination that don’t withstand rational analysis but, instead, translate to: we don’t want to upset homophobes in uniform by truly treating LGBs in uniform as First Class citizens and soldiers. Not only is that unconstitutional and morally wrong, but such messaging also telegraphs to those like “Lucy’s” CSM that she and others don’t DESERVE respect, and they can get away with such verbal and physical assaults. President/Commander-in-Chief Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta have had requests on their desks for months from Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to use their authority to erase these officially discriminating policies but, to date, they’ve inexplicably refused.

      Finally, “Lucy” & her partner have the right, of course, to remain publicly anonymous, but the ONLY way such abuses are going to stop is if they are publicized with real names. Otherwise, it’s too easy for the Pentagon to discount them [in fact, a part of that Pentagon POLICY of discrimination is BANNING “tracking” such abuses], and for others to disbelieve them. Faceless victims are powerless victims, and the decades-long battle to be able to serve out is meaningless if no one is.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JR
      JR

      It was not her Commanding Offier. It was the Command Sergeant Major, and enlisted person. She is an officer, assulted by an enlisted person. Bust his rank, and brig time. The UCMJ is VERY clear on this.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JT
      JT

      What JR said. I swear…enlisted people…This is why education is SO IMPORTANT.

      Apr 23, 2012 at 10:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gorbeh
      Gorbeh

      CSM said “the unit does not need this kind of publicity.”

      Looks like he is the one that caused all the publicity.

      Apr 24, 2012 at 2:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JAW
      JAW

      The story is poorly written…

      It begins stating that “HER” “commanding officer” did it

      then it says… The unit’s Command Sergeant Major (CSM) then approached Lucy and told her what she was doing was “wrong”:

      then it says… Lucy says the Squadron Commander called to apologize and let her know “that he accepts us as being gay and it in no way changes how he feels about us as officers.
      so how many people were involved? Sounds like at least 2… if not 3

      Plus as others have questioned… what is the “work” relationship with her girlfriend… was she “Fraternizing”???

      No one should ever have to put up with abuse… but somehow I think that there is more to this story

      Apr 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RS
      RS

      She was assaulted by her CSM, but her Squadron Commander tried covering it up. That’s why there may be some confusion with the multiple titles. What this story doesn’t say is how her Squadron Commander punched out a Soldier just prior to this incident because there were rumors that some soldiers were trying to take pictures of the two dancing and try exploiting them. Her squadron commander (SCO) saw a kid with a camera and literally punched him out, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion. Too bad the kid was taking a picture of his own commander dancing because she’d asked him to. “Lucy” and her girlfriend weren’t doing anything provocative or different than anyone else out there. They weren’t bothering anyone. Then suddenly the SCO punches out a Soldier and the CSM gets in “Lucy’s” face telling her to leave and cussing at her. When she questioned why he was so upset and ended up not moving the CSM shoved her hard across the dance floor – we’re talking at least 10ft of a 115lb woman being thrown like a ragdoll by a very tall man at least twice her size in muscle. It was the most vial thing I’d ever seen. Everyone was so shocked by what happened no one could move. So glad she’s going through with the charges though! She’s one of the best officers in the unit and it was so sad knowing she was getting out of the army…now I understand why the good officers leave. The CSM, however, has gotten away with a lot of sketchy things over the years so I’m not surprised by his actions. Btw, her and her girlfriend aren’t in the same chain so it’s not fraternization. Also, I heard she can’t reveal her name yet because of legal matters right now. Hopefully she will though once she’s able to. I salute her, go Lucy!!

      Apr 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Andrew
      Andrew

      I am not at all surprised regarding the reaction and attempt by the CO to downplay the seriousness of this incident, respect and dignity is the foundation of our right to be who we are. This applies to race, religion, male, female, gay or straight….. The CO needs to understand what explanation, demonstration and confirmation are!
      I still have to fight regarding what happened to me and what my COC requested of me when I indicated that I would be pursuing a formal discrimination/harassment complaint… “I expect you to divorce yourself from this and focus on work, let the COC take care of this” that translates into lets make a nice rug to sweep this under… oh how proud we are of your service…!!

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/01/30/mb-gay-soldier-threat-afghanistan.html

      I am now retired after close to 22 years of service.
      Andrew

      Jul 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian
      Brian

      @Form Army wrote:
      “… the hatred he spouted could escalate to violence and shuld not be taken lightly.”

      It WAS violence, and the CO should have stomped on it right then and there. He didn’t, and as a result both he and the CSM are degraded in the eyes of all who witnessed this. The unit suffered, yes, but the responsibility for that lies at the feet of the two senior enlisted and commissioned members.

      Jul 24, 2012 at 9:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

    Add your Comment

    Please log in to add your comment

    Need an account? Register It's free and easy.



  • QUEERTY DAILY

     


    POPULAR ON QUEERTY


    FROM AROUND THE WEB

    Copyright 2014 Queerty, Inc.
    Follow Queerty at Queerty.com, twitter.com/queerty and facebook.com/queerty.