home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 
 
 
Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright
 
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
 
 
 
 
subscribe
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
 
 
 
  unsubscribe
 
 
Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
 
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
 
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
 
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
 
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
 
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
 
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
 
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
 
Congratulations
 
Happy Memorial Day 2013
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 05/27/13
Last updated on: 05/27/13
 
Bookmark and Share


Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay soldier who died in Afghanistan in 2011.

As we celebrate Memorial Day 2013, we need to remember the sacrifices made by those who have served in our military, including glbtq servicemembers, both those who served in silence and those who are now able to serve openly. We need especially to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It is gratifying to know that following the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, gay and lesbian servicemembers are able to enjoy the kind of freedom that their straight colleagues take for granted.

Following the repeal of DADT, American gay and lesbian servicemembers have served openly and without incident. Gay and lesbian clubs have formed at the military academies and gay and lesbian couples have attended formal balls at the U.S. Naval Academy and other schools, with the acceptance of their colleagues.

The new level of comfort felt by gay and lesbian servicemembers on active duty is also apparent in the numerous photographs and videos of same-sex partners greeting each other with kisses and hugs upon returning from deployment.

However, as we celebrate this new openness, we must not forget those who suffered under the old policies--including the 14,000 servicemembers discharged under DADT--and those who fought so tenaciously to change them.

More specifically, we need to remember heroes like Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, Sgt. Perry Watkins, Sgt. Miriam Ben-Shalom, and Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, who were pioneers in fighting against discrimination in the military.

Heroes in the fight to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell also need to be honored. These include Aubrey Sarvis of the Service Members Legal Defense Network, Alexander Nicholson of Servicemembers United, and Nathaniel Frank and Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center, as well as Lt. Dan Choi, Capt. Jim Pietrangelo, Capt. Tanya Domi, Cpl. Evelyn Thomas, Maj. Michael Almy, Lt. Robert Chaurasiya, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, Sgt. Justin Elzie, and Spc. Jarrod Chlapowski, and Pty. Off. Autumn Sandeen, among many, many others.

In addition, we must also be cognizant that glbtq servicemembers and their families are often denied benefits that are made available to other families. Despite efforts to extend equal benefits, the military claims to be hampered in that regard by the Defense of Marriage Act, which compels the federal government to recognize only heterosexual marriages.

On Memorial Day, those who have given their lives defending our country especially should be remembered.

One of them is Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, who was killed on October 1, 2012 when a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle packed with explosives into a joint U.S.-Afghan patrol in Afghanistan. She and two other members of the North Carolina National Guard were among 14 killed in the attack.

Compounding the tragedy of Sgt. Johnson's death is the fact that, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, her wife, Tracy Dice, was denied survivor's benefits that she would have received had she been a man.

Another gay soldier who made he ultimate sacrifice is Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt of Rosemont, Minnesota, who was killed in Afghanistan in February 27, 2011.

The openly gay Wilfahrt joined the Army in 2009, when DADT was still in effect. His decision to join the military surprised his parents. They wondered why Andrew would enter the military, where he'd be forced to deny a part of who he is and where he would be in danger. Nevertheless, the parents supported his decision, just as they had supported him when he came out at age 16.

When they learned that their son had been killed, Jeff Wilfahrt, Andrew's father, at first feared that he might have been fragged because he was gay. "I want to talk directly to somebody in his platoon!" Jeff told the officer and chaplain who delivered the tragic news.

What he discovered was that Andrew was accepted and valued by his colleagues. He was so well-liked his comrades named a combat outpost for him. COP Wilfahrt sits 6 kilometers from Kandahar. To his buddies, it is not named for a gay soldier, but for one who fought with valor.

"Mom, everyone knows. Nobody cares," he told his mother in their final conversation.

Since Andrew Wilfahrt's death, his parents have embraced the cause of gay rights. As Jeff Wilfahrt has said, "If my son was good enough to fight and die for the constitution, the least I can do is continue the fight here."

For more about Andrew Wilfahrt, see Wayne Drash's CNN report and associated videos, which may be found here.

In the video below, Cpl. Wifahrt's parents speak movingly of their son.

 
Related Encyclopedia Entries
 
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
 
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
 
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.