Friday, January 06, 2006

Terrorism at Home

I'm referencing this story because when I was home in Arkansas for my 20th class reunion last year, a straight friend of mine said he didn't believe the lives of gay people were in danger in this day and age. This is far from the truth. My friend wasn't being mean. He just doesn't hear about such stories, which is why I will post them from time to time here. The truth matters.

From the Arizona Star:

SIERRA VISTA - Fear is keeping Pvt. Kyle Lawson awake at night - not of the enemy, but of his fellow soldiers.

For weeks, the 19-year-old Tucson native has been sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office to protect him from further attacks because he is gay.

He's already had his nose broken - and says he also was threatened with a knife - after a friend let Lawson's secret slip at a party attended by members of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, a training unit at Fort Huachuca 75 miles southeast of Tucson.

Lawson now feels he has no choice but to leave the military and has requested a discharge. He was training to be an Army interrogator, a high-demand job in the age of terrorism.

"I can't keep living a lie. It's not safe for me here," said Lawson, who is described by friends and family as smart, moral and hardworking - qualities the Army says it values in soldiers.

He loved the army, but can't stay there. Ironically, the attacker is doing just fine. Read the rest of the article by clicking the link above to find out how the Army is turning a blind eye and encouraging the attacker to continue such behavior.

Oh, and Pvt. Lawson could have been someone you know:

Before joining the Army - before admitting to himself that he was gay - Lawson was a teen preacher at a Baptist church in conservative southern Missouri, where he went to high school after moving from Tucson. His church's disapproval of homosexuality caused him such angst he tried dating girls and willing himself to feel attracted to them, he said. It didn't work.


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