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Openly gay soldiers still serving in US military
[img2=left][/img2]A US Army Sergeant has expressed his surprise that he wasn’t dismissed after admitting he was gay on live American TV.

Last month Army Sgt. Darren Manzella told CBS 60 Minutes that his army colleagues knew his sexuality. The programme also showed a video of Manzella kissing his former boyfriend.

"I thought I would at least be asked about the segment or approached and told I shouldn't speak to the media again," Manzella told USA Today .

Manzella is an army medic who has just returned from Kuwait. He previously earned a Combat Medical Badge for service in Baghdad.

He was the first active-duty gay service member to speak on television about life in the army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which bans openly gay people from the US Armed Forces.

Manzella is only one of many other army members who have decided to be open about their sexuality with their troops and commanders yet have not been discharged.

Gay advocacy group, the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network, has said it knows of about another 500 gay army members who are serving openly without any consequences.

"That's the highest number we've ever been aware of," says SLDN spokesman Steve Ralls.

"Their experiences point to an undeniable shift in the armed forces."

Over 11,000 troops have been dismissed under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy approved by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Discharges peaked at 1,273 in 2001 but halved in 2005.

The policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" to serve in the US forces.

Serving gay men and lesbians are also not allowed to tell anyone about their sexual orientation or relationships.

"A lot of service members are getting 'wink-wink' treatment from their commanders," said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Centre at the University of California, which studies the policy.

Elaine Donnelly, whose Centre for Military Readiness favours the ban on homosexuals, has been "bothering" superiors at Manzella's base at Fort Hood, Texas to do something about his appearance on the live show.

"We have yet to get an answer," she says. "His commanders should be disciplined appropriately for failing to do their duty."

Manzella came out to his commander a year and a half ago because he was receiving anonymous e-mails threatening to expose him.

His case was investigated in 2006 and the Army viewed the video of Manzella kissing his ex-boyfriend.

They later told him they had found no evidence of homosexuality.

"They recommended that I just go back and keep doing my job," he said.

After that, he was sent to Kuwait for his second Iraq war deployment.

Eugene Fidell of the National Institute of Military Justice, a group of military legal experts, said "military managers may be turning a blind eye because it's a nuisance, and we need these people."
Note: No trees were destroyed in the sending of this contaminant free message. However, I do concede, a significant number of electrons may have been inconvenienced.
Hm... I'm still confused as to WHY people would be banned from the military because of their sexuality. It seems just so stupid for someone to say "Oh you're gay? You can't help defend your country."

There seems to be a lot going around that makes this an awkward time... discrimination and hatred are fueled by the news telling tales of this gay pedophile raping these children, or that man molested his partner on the workeforce and later raped him. It's really starting to get ridiculous! It's like the media wants the populace to be discriminatory towards the gay populace!

Does being gay make you any less human? Does being gay prohibit one's efficiency in combat situations? I think not! This is getting freaking ridiculous, this need for one man to feel superior to all others because of something that he is and they aren't. I hear new types of prejudice against groups of people, and it all translates to me into "I'm better because... [add random, stupid reason here]"

I mean for chrissake. Millions of people now see that the white-supremacy movement did a whole lot of bad in the world, so why are we basically repeating it under different circumstances? The names may change, the sides might get jumbled, but it seems that's all it ever boils down to!

I'm happy to hear about the military not kicking folks because they're openly gay, this just goes to show that the simply stupid prejudices of yesterday are dissolving into a world where people can be who they are without someone pointing a finger and saying it's wrong because of a, b, and c! Next step should be getting rid of this useless bill that says open homosexuals can't get into the military. If the law isn't (and in this case, shouldn't be in the first place) being enforced, why have it? For face value?

Anyways, I'll wrap up this little rant by saying: Good job America. We're one step closer to having what Abraham Lincoln wrote 232 (?) years ago.

"All men created equal."
its and lesbian rights are really the last true human rights fight left in the moden western world. racism against blacks is very rare nowadays and for us to have to hide who we are just to serve in the military or work certain industries is insane.
it's bigger than any of us - racism is everywhere .. always will be ... anyone that is different than yourself or myself poses some kind of threat or some kind of difference that we might not be able to accept - what we need to do is get over killing each other over it

swim73088 Wrote:its and lesbian rights are really the last true human rights fight left in the moden western world. racism against blacks is very rare nowadays and for us to have to hide who we are just to serve in the military or work certain industries is insane.

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