GQ Digs Into DADT As Repeal Date Looms

On September 20, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will officially join anti-miscegenation and sodomy laws in history’s trash heap. To mark the occassion, GQ writer Chris Heath interviewed dozens of gay servicemen—from World War II vets to young soldiers on active duty—about what it’s been like to be gay in the military pre-repeal.

Below are some heartfelt quotes:


Deep Cover
“No one at my job would ever, ever suspect that I was gay at all. I talk about Sam, I even say ‘Sam’ at work, ‘I’m meeting Sam, we’re going to do this and that,’ and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, how’s she been?’ The worst part is when they start asking me about our sex life and I have to make shit up. But I’m ‘That’s the woman I’m going to marry, so I’m not cool with you guys talking about my wife like that,’ and everybody goes, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ ” —Air Force senior airman


Hiding in Plain Sight
“Part of what has really allowed me to hide in plain sight is the fact that I don’t meet the stereotype. And you’re good at your job—a gay person wouldn’t be good at his job, so obviously you’re not gay. You’re a Marine, you don’t mind getting dirty, going out into the field and not showering for weeks at a time…and, if you were gay, when you have to shower with all these other guys you’d get all excited. You’re not getting excited so you’re clearly not gay. I mean, if you want to hide, the Marine Corps is one of the best places to do that, because nobody wants to admit they are standing next to a gay guy. Nobody wants to admit that they have gone to war with gay people.”—Marine captain


Passing with Flying Colors
“We had heard about these very frightening psychiatrists who were going to grill you. We thought they were the all-seeing people. So we were a little apprehensive. But it certainly didn’t happen that way. I was called in, and there was a man sitting behind this desk, and he pulled down his glasses and looked at me, and the only thing he said to me was ‘Do you like girls?’ I said, ‘Oh yes. And I love to dance.’ And he looked over at the door and said, ‘Next!’ “—World War II veteran Jack Strouss, 88


Straight Shooter
“A pal of mine on a carrier went to the CO and said, ‘What is your policy on gays?’ The CO looked at my friend and said, ‘If somebody wants to get off my ship for being gay, they have to come to me with two Polaroids, in both of them they have to be clearly sucking cock, and I want to be able to see their face.’ That’s why I love my Navy.”—Navy commander


Enough is Enough
“When we finally get certification, for me it is no longer controlled information. I don’t give a rat’s ass who knows. And I’m not going to swallow words rather than saying it. If you say something fucking stupid then I’m going to say: ‘Hey, motherfucker, you’re a fucking idiot, shut the fuck up. Because we ain’t going to put up with that shit no more.’ I mean, I’m ready for that. Right now I’m angry. I’ve had e-fucking-nough. We’ve eaten a shit sandwich for seventeen years. History is here.”—Marine


To read the full article, visit or pick up the September issue today.


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  • Dallas David

    My session with the base psychologist in 1977 involved him asking me questions he got from reading “Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid To Ask” by Dr. David Rubin. His book was just a paperback sort of thing you might buy at the supermarket check-out, and was mostly BS. But that was ‘cutting edge’ information for back then, lol . . .

    Those were the days . . . Witch-hunts and BS. May we never see them again.

  • sailorhitch

    I’ve been an active duty Sailor for 10 years and have experience much of what the gentlemen in the article talk about, from bigotry and destructive homophobia, to near open service. It’s a hell-of-a way to spend your 20’s. Now that repeal is finally here, I agree with the Marine in the final quote, I’m angry, and have been for ten years, I don’t care who knows now.
    But at the same time I plan on being the example and the leader for the younger GLBTQ active duty members, giving them something that I never had, but so desperately needed.

  • Chico

    @sailorhitch: thank you for your service and being strong enough to endure! You already are a wonderful example for those that work with you and for you! You honor the military with your strength and courage.

    a gay veteran

  • randy

    I agree – as a non-veteran civilian, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the military at all, much less being gay in the military. So a heartfelt thanks to you all!

  • Xavi

    @sailorhitch, I will echo the comments of my fellow posters and offer my heartfelt thanks for your brave and longstanding service to our nation. You are an example to our community and I look forward to the day you and your colleagues serve openly and proudly. Thank you

  • slanty

    Well, at least the stories of their hard-won attempts to serve our nation proudly are being recorded.

  • Henry

    @sailorhitch: Thank you for killing our enemies both foreign and domestic. You’ve done your country proud by serving at a time of such immense world-historical importance, particularly at the cost of your own dignity, since so many servicemen (that’s what they are, servicemen) are still being discriminated against. The Iraqi and Arabian regimes pose too great a threat to our fair country to go unnoticed.

  • o

    @Henry: That’s what I’ve always said, if we don’t fight them over there, they’ll bring the fight to our shores. Imagine little American girls with napalm jelly sticking to their skin. It’s too horrible to think about? That’s what I thought. We need to act over there so we don’t have to think.

  • Henry

    @o: Actually, that’s a little outdated, they wouldn’t be using napalm jelly. They’d be using yellow cake, which Iraq had many stockpiles of until we stole it away from them in the war. Just imagine what the Iraqis could have done with it.

  • o

    @Henry: I’d rather not imagine the untold devastation of a yellow cake bomb exploded on American shores by filthy Iraqi hands! It’s too horrible! Like I said, it’s dangerous to think about these things.

  • delurker

    wow. the two morons chatting above actually believe the iraq war was justified. i bet you two believe saddam commanded those planes in to those towers. goproud rears its ugly head head again. ugh.

  • Thomas Alex


    Would you have killed Hitler if you could?

  • delurker

    @Thomas Alex: Funny question. There is some evidence that the Allies could have had Hitler assassinated, but opted not to, because toward the end of the war he was making so many grievous errors in military judgment that the Allies felt he would bring end of the war all by himself.

    And if are trying to imply that we should assassinate every tin-pot autocrat all over the world, the U.S. would have a lot of assassinating to do. Even some of our allies would get nicked off.

    You GOProuders are something else. Still trying to justify the Iraq clusterfuck when everyone else realizes it was a horrid mistake. Morons.

  • delurker

    Does it burn you GOProuders that the U.S. was able to assist in the the toppling a dictator in Libya without a single U.S. solider dying (the ones you are so eager to send off to war)? Could you imagine if GWB or McCain were president during this intervention? “Evidence” would have been presented that Qkgaddfyi had nukes pointed at NY and we needed to send 100K troops into Tripoli. You all would have cheerled that invasion, too.

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