Sunday, December 18, 2005

Gay soldier to leave Army after being assaulted by 'fellow' soldiers

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According to an article published by the Arizona Daily Star, a 19 year ld gay soldier is being forced to quit his Army career not so much because of the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy but rather anti-gay attacks, assaults and abse he endured from his 'fellow' soldiers. Army Pvt. Pvt. Kyle Lawson has already had his nose broken and also says he was threatened with a knife by fellow soldiers. He has been forced to sleep on a cot in his drill sergeant's office in order to be protected from attacks because he is gay. His secret was let out by a friend at a party attended by numerous members of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion (of which Lawson is a part), a training unit at Fort Huachuca 75 miles southeast of Tucson. According to the article:
Lawson was punched in the face by a fellow 309th soldier at the off-post party on Oct. 29, according to a police report of the incident. The soldier told police Lawson made sexually suggestive remarks. Sierra Vista police Officer Darryl Scott, who investigated and laid a charge of felony aggravated assault, said in an interview that "there was no provocation." The Army chose not to prosecute the charge, for reasons fort officials say they are not at liberty to explain. A week after the first attack, Lawson said a second soldier threatened him with a knife outside a barracks as word spread about his sexual orientation. Lawson said the soldiers who accosted him received little punishment from the Army. Fort Huachuca officials say neither case was mishandled. .... Before heading to boot camp, Lawson said he leveled with his recruiter, who told him "everything would be fine" as long as he stayed in the closet. His case is not unusual, say those who help such troops. Beatings, taunting — and occasionally, murders — are fueled by the policy that makes gays hide, they say. Despite a Pentagon push in 2000 to prevent gay-bashing — spurred by the slaying of a gay soldier at Fort Campbell, Ky. — more than 900 homosexual troops were verbally or physically harassed last year, according to the Service Members' Legal Defense Network in Washington, D.C. Don't Ask, Don't Tell promotes ill will by stigmatizing homosexuality, said Steve Ralls, spokesman for the group. "When the military as an institution can discriminate against you, what message does that send to your co-workers about how they can treat you?" he asked. The military does not do enough to punish personnel who harass or attack gay colleagues, Ralls said. In Lawson's case, police charged his alleged attacker with a Class 3 felony aggravated assault — a charge that draws an average 3 1/2 years in prison upon conviction in Arizona, more if a judge finds the crime was hate-based. Lawson told police that the soldier who broke his nose used a profane anti-gay slur. Fort Huachuca requested control of the criminal case — common when soldiers are charged by civilian police — but didn't prosecute. Lawson said as far as he knows, his attacker was punished by losing some privileges, such as having his weekend pass revoked. Fort Huachuca spokeswoman Tanja Linton said that although the Army did not take the case to court, commanders took "appropriate action." She would not say what action was taken, citing federal privacy laws. Lawson's claim that he was threatened with a knife was not substantiated, so no action was needed, Linton said. However, out of concern for Lawson, he was told to sleep on a cot under his drill sergeant's watch after the knife report, she said. She said the Army is satisfied that "the soldiers involved did not harbor prejudicial beliefs." Still, Lawson's colleagues received "reinforcement training" stressing respect for each other, Linton said. "Harassment of any type is not tolerated," she said.
====== the soldiers involved did not harbor prejudicial beliefs... I usually don't use profanity in my blog but that line is nothing but BULLSHIT!!!! The whole reason this boy was attacked is because he is gay. That was the whole reasoning and motive behind the assaults and attacks. The Army is only trying to cover their own prejudiced and bigoted asses. I'm sorry for the profanity, ya'll, but this story just pissed me off. That is all it really accomplished. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' needs to go now!!! Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,


Thanks for bringing this to my attention Matt. I've posted my own thoughts on it.