queerty interviews

Meet Just-A-Joe: This Is What a DADT Dismissal Looks Like, Live From Baghdad

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Last week we met Just-A-Joe, the active duty gay American soldier serving his second tour in Iraq. He began blogging his experience earlier in the month, and then dropped a bombshell: He came out to his comrades, without planning on it. And despite assurances from his direct superior, that he would not reveal Joe’s sexuality to others, a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell investigation began. Queerty‘s David Hauslaib spoke to him over Easter weekend from Baghdad, where Joe remains in limbo — halfway between being kicked out and not knowing what’s going to happen.

(Please forgive the audio quality in parts. New York-to-Baghdad calls aren’t always the clearest, and there is often a delay, which is why there’s some talking over each other; we’ve been able to edit out some gaps.)

Let’s discuss:

• How Joe came out to comrades
• How his superior ended up reporting him, and landed him a DADT discharge investigation
• Where the investigation, just days in, currently stands
• How the military treats known gay soldiers serving in the Middle East, and disposes of them when they’re back home
• Whether he believes Obama and Congress can get DADT repealed, and whether the president has any trust left among LGBTs and soldiers
• What he’s doing from Iraq to lobby his lawmakers
• Whether the strategies of HRC and Dan Choi are proving worthwhile
• If Defense Sec. Gates and Army Sec. McHugh’s new remarks represent any substantial change
• Whether he regrets coming out (We’ll tell you the answer to that one: No)
• If there’s any there’s any truth to the idea that openly gay soldiers will somehow hurt the military
• If he’d discharged under DADT, then what?
• Will he ever come out from under the cloak of anonymity? Why is he speaking out now?

Joe is reading the site. Expect your comments to reach him. You can also read his blog at RepealNow.org.