Col. Grethe Cammermeyer
Like others on this list, Col. Cammermeyer’s story stood out because of her exemplary record of service. But when her autobiography, Serving in Silence, was turned into a cable movie starring Glenn Close and produced by Barbra Streisand, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the issue of gays in the military reached into mainstream American homes like never before.
“Suddenly I was a movie star,” she writes about the experience on her website. “With this came responsibilities I had never anticipated… to continue to speak out on behalf of the gay and lesbian service members [and] to continue to challenge the anti-gay rhetoric in society, the ignorance, and the notion that, somehow, as gay and lesbian people we should be judged by another’s God.”
Cammermeyer’s grace and perseverance are evident in her explanation for why she continues to challenge such assumptions: “I have learned that ‘If I am uncomfortable, it is where I need to be.’”