Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell doesn’t just hurt soldiers. It hurts their families, as well.
Homo-journo Deb Price highlights the price army men, women and their families pay for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’s discriminatory policy. While out and proud soldier Darren Manzella’s mama worries the anti-gay ax will soon fall, Patricia Kutteles and Dorothy Hadjys continue to mourn their fallen sons. No, they weren’t killed by suicide bombers or from an IED. They were murdered by comrades who didn’t understand the queers:
Patricia Kutteles, Barry’s mom, and Dorothy Hadjys, Allen’s mom, share a more painful story: Their sons were killed in anti-gay assaults.
Allen was kicked and beaten so badly that Dorothy identified his body by a tattoo on his arm.
“I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to let this happen to any other mother’s son,” says Dorothy, who still takes anti-depressants to try to cope with her loss. “If I stayed quiet, I would have just been giving up on Allen.
“People think once a trial is over, that it’s all over. But not for the family. You just can’t go on with your life.”
Patricia’s son, Barry, was beaten to death in 1999 by a fellow soldier who assumed he was gay because he was dating a male-to-female transgender dancer.
“Barry’s murder changed my whole life. You don’t get over it,” says Patricia, who gives an award each year to a service member or other leader in the effort to repeal the ban. “The hardest part was taking Barry off the respirator. He was brain dead. It was difficult to think that someone could join the military to represent their country and yet be murdered because of their perceived sexual orientation.”
These women refuse to wallow in their misery, however: they’re rallying Congress to give DADT the boot. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, huh? If you want to help, head on over to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and get into the militaristic mix!