We speak often now, as his loved one is in Iraq, and mine will redeploy in October. Clint and I met him in February, when we coincidentally ended up within blocks of one another for our Chicago weekend. He met us at the RV show and we spent a few hours gabbing and climbing in and out of RVs, comparing ours and his to the expensive luxury models at the show.
I'd like you to meet D:
Oh. Well. You see, I have a dilemma. I can either introduce you to D, or I can tell you about him. I'm opting to tell you about him, because he has an important story.
D's partner's name is Clay. He is 43 years old, and has served in the military for 20 years. Clay is one of at least 65,000 gay soldiers serving this country, and as I said, is in Iraq, right this minute.
When Brian was deployed, I got a phone call from a counselor. I got names and numbers for support groups. I got coaching on mailing, and people to talk to if I became scared or sad. There's a Family Readiness Group for me.
There is nothing like this for D, or for others in his situation. He can't easily seek out support without risking Clay's career. I can go on and on, but D says it better, in his letter to President Obama, asking him to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy:
This is my friend, D.
...I am compelled to remind you that there are tens of thousands like me who continue to suffer under the current policy. My partner is currently serving inThe day he deployed, I dropped him off far from the his base's main gate, and he walked alone in the dark and the rain to report for duty. Where the rest of his buddies were surrounded by spouses and children at mobilization ceremonies, he stood by himself.
Iraq, and is in a situation where he is under fire on a daily basis. He's a good soldier, and our country needs him to continue doing the excellent job that he
has been recognized for.
The phone trees don't have my name on them, and base support services don't apply—even though we've been together for 16 years and are raising a beautiful child together.Our communication is self-censored and we are cruelly unable to nurture each other at the exact moment we both need it the most.
If something were to happen to him no one from his unit will call me. If, like so many good soldiers before him, he gives that last full measure of devotion, no one will come knock on my door. No one will present me with a flag. It is, and would be, as if the most important thing in his life—his family—never existed.I am not sure if I can adequately convey the mixture of fear, pride, heartache and hope I feel, all jumbled together, on a daily basis. But I ask you to consider relieving the burden of fear and dishonor from our brave men and women who risk being punished simply for whom they love.
I cannot imagine not having had the support I did when my son was in Iraq. There were so many days I wanted to crumble, and I'd get a comment, an email, a note from one of you that literally kept me going.
Please head over to Diary of a Gay Soldier's Husband, and read for yourself. His writing is poignant, and raw, and real. It often takes my breath away, as it takes me back to moments and emotions I experienced when Brian was in Iraq. It also prepares me for his redeployment.
While you're there, put a little wind beneath the wings of D and their daughter, while they wait for Clay to get home, will you?