Thursday, October 26, 2006

In Celebration of Gay History Month

This week, as the last week in our tribute to Gay History month, is dedicated to all of the anonymous lives of gay, lesbian, and transgender soldiers throughout history who have lived and continue to live in fear and repression yet give life and limb in service to their country.

From anonymous gay soldier’s diaries circa 1909:

“It is my greatest wish to get into the field as soon as possible and to meet an honorable death for otherwise I will be compelled later on to make an end of my rotten life due to my homosexual tendencies for which I am not at all responsible. It is better that my mother should be able to say, “My Fritz died a heroic death for his fatherland,” than that people should say, “So! A suicide, eh?””

“I am certain that if everyone would do his share in the interests of the whole class of homosexuals and help us dispel the legendary lies concerning us, great progress would be made.”

“I will not permit myself to be robbed of the idea that this love is at least as holy and pure, good and noble as any heterosexual inclination.”

From an officer of the corps, 1945:

“On the battlefield homosexuals could be contagious and infect men of normal constitution. I fear that urnings [sic] could transmit their perverse inclination by having relations with heterosexual men.”

“One night when this soldier had finished his watch at the telephone, one of his comrades came over to him and requested that he have sexual intercourse with him. This soldier, a perfectly heterosexual man, had no suspicion that the other was a homosexual. He would have made the same request to any other comrade who was known or friendly to him. Such homosexual acts of heterosexual men were carried out simply faute de mieux.”
From the Toronto Globe, February 4, 1915:

“Among the wounded who had returned to Moscow from the front, there was a nineteen-year-old girl by the name of Olga Krasilnikoff. After she had participated in nineteen battles in Poland she sustained a leg wound. This girl had enlisted under a masculine name and the deception had escaped notice until this time. She was awarded the St. George Cross of the fourth class.”
In one hundred years we have seen women’s suffrage, the first automobile, legalized marriage, the first manned spaceflight, the first computer, the Internet, microscopic robots that fit on the head of a pin; and yet, we still have progressed no further on the rights of gays and lesbians to serve their country openly and honestly.

These same soldiers who face down death and horrors beyond our civilian imagination are required to hide in fear of discharge from the armed forces that they volunteered to serve. These same soldiers are taking bullets, interpreting foreign correspondence, fighting and dying for the basic dignity of humanity so that others may experience freedom.

Why has so much progress been made in the world in all areas while our military policies remain immutably mired in antiquity?

For those soldiers who are gay, lesbian or transgender we stand and salute you. You sacrifice for each of us in ways which we cannot comprehend and for that all gay, lesbian, and transgender soldiers living and dead, are our heroes and pioneers this week.