A lesbian British solder says she was unfairly kicked off active duty in Afghanistan in December 2009 for, well, being a lesbian person who has romantic interests. Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that: she’s accused of “social misconduct” for having a relationship with another enlisted woman, whose hands she was spotted “rubbing sun cream” into. According to one staff sergeant, It was “wholly inappropriate for a mature woman and a commissioned officer to behave like a love struck teenager.” The Daily Mail relays:
Karen Tait, 29, who is claiming sexual discrimination against the Ministry of Defence and her commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel Deborah Poneskis, upset the chain of command with her ‘sly and underhand’ behaviour, the employment tribunal in central London heard. Cpt Tait, an operations officer with the Royal Military Police, was sent home from Afghanistan in December 2009 after Lt Col Poneskis decided to cut short her tour because of alleged ‘social misconduct’. The openly gay soldier, who started a sexual relationship with Sgt Caroline Graham before deployment with 4 Royal Military Police’s 160 Provost Company, denies having any intimacy with her while on tour or allowing their relationship to affect her professional judgment. But she was accused of arranging to move Sgt Graham from Kandahar to Camp Bastion so they could spend more time together and adjusting their leave rotas to coincide.
She said her warrant card was removed, and on her return to the UK she was forced to take leave while an investigation was made into her misconduct. David Mitchell, representing the MoD, read from several statements from her colleagues. He quoted Staff Sergeant Lee Truman, a senior non commissioned officer, as saying: ‘I cannot emphasise enough how sly and underhand Cpt Tait has been in her decision making. She has attempted to get her friends around her and stopped at nothing to achieve this.’
So just what sort of offensive infractions did Tait allegedly commit?
Another staff sergeant described an incident in which Cpt Tait was allegedly seen rubbing sun cream into Sgt Graham’s hands. Mr Mitchell said: ‘He thinks it wholly inappropriate for a mature woman and a commissioned officer to behave like a love struck teenager.’ The staff sergeant said the two ‘selfish individuals were out for themselves’ and Cpt Tait was a ‘disgrace’. Another experienced officer said they were ‘so wrapped up in themselves it’s nothing short of criminal’. Cpt Tait, who graduated from Sandhurst, said Lt Col Poneskis demonstrated on a number of occasions that she was prejudiced against her. But Mr Mitchell said she only brought the complaint against her superior after accusations of prejudice against more junior officers came to nothing.
Sharing some SPF? To protect themselves against the sun! My god, did Tait then offer to rub said sun scream on her disgusting lesbian lover’s back and shoulders? This sort of behavior has no place in the armed forces. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS.