Skip to main content

STORIES FROM THE FRONTLINES--WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010

LETTER FOR WEDNESDAY, MAY 26, 2010:

“Stories from the Frontlines: Letters to President Barack Obama” is a new media campaign launched to underscore the urgent need for congressional action and presidential leadership at this critical point in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT). Every weekday morning as we approach the markup of the Defense Authorization bill in the Senate, SLDN and a coalition of voices supporting repeal, will share an open letter to the President from a person impacted by this discriminatory law. The Defense Authorization bill represents the best legislative vehicle to bring repeal to the president’s desk. It also was the same vehicle used to pass DADT in 1993. By working together, we can help build momentum to get the votes! We ask that you forward and post these personal stories.

##

May 26, 2010

President Barack H. Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As an 18-year-old, first generation immigrant from Mexico and a newly sworn in American citizen, military service seemed the best way to repay my fellow citizens for giving my family and me a shot at a better life.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps as an Aircraft Ordnance Man. USMC Boot Camp was physically and mentally challenging, but it didn’t compare to the persecution I would encounter later in the Marines.

As a new PFC in an Aircraft Ordnance (AO) Shop in California, I developed a reputation for being a hard worker, always looking for extra duties and opportunities to expand my skills. As a result, my work ethic and excellent evaluations, I was promoted to an E3, a lance corporal. These were my best days in the military. Unfortunately, they were short numbered. With the arrival of a new gunnery sergeant, my career in the Marines soon became a struggle to survive.

The gunnery sergeant enjoyed socializing with the junior Marines in the shop, frequently taking them out drinking and to the strip clubs. I was expected to participate. I tried to be a team player so I would not be singled out. The shop soon became the squadron’s “frat pad.” Most conversation revolved around girls and hookups, often described by my comrades as “bitches and hoes.”

This behavior, beyond being tolerated, was often sponsored and enjoyed by my superiors. “Gunny” usually joined in, bragging about cheating on his wife. This environment was repulsive and contradictory to the core values of the Marine Corps: honor, courage, commitment — values I tried to live by. I was miserable, but felt powerless to do anything about it.

I still went out drinking with the guys, but tried to avoid going to strip bars or swapping stories about sexual experiences. But then Gunny became suspicious. He told me he suspected I was a “faggot” and that we should see what the rest of the guys thought about it.

Everything changed that day. My evaluation scores began to drop dramatically — from the 4.9 out of 5 average I had for three years to a 1.0. After obtaining copies of my evaluations, I learned that my direct supervisors’ scores had been crossed out and lowered by the gunnery sergeant. I had never failed at anything in life before and I was not going to let anyone tell me I was not a good Marine.

My only way out, I believed, was to transfer out of my unit. At first my requests were repeatedly denied. Eventually though, after numerous letters of recommendations from other military officers, I was transferred.

I was promoted and, when I left my new unit, I had numerous letters of recommendation. The detachment’s commanding officer wrote accolades such as, “You are a Marine with exceptional core values… a great asset to the Armed Services” and “You are a Marine of great caliber and will go far in your military career.”

Unfortunately, I was required to return to my former training squadron just months before my six year contract was up. I was back under Gunny’s command. Those last few months were a living nightmare. I constantly dreaded going to work and was afraid for my physical safety.

With the support of friends, I managed to serve eight years. I love the Marines and, under different command circumstances, I would have continued my service. In three weeks, I’ll graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in structural engineering. With the your help and with open service in place at the Pentagon, I’d signup and serve my country again.

Mr. President, thank you for supporting repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” I hope that, with your leadership, no other service member will have to go through the persecution I endured in order to serve our country.

Respectfully,

Former Corporal Juan C. Perezortiz

United States Marine Corps

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chris Geidner: In Iowa, judges are ousted.

Via Chris Geidner's Poliglot blog at Metro Weekly:

"

In Iowa, which declared Iowa's marriage ban unconstitutional under the state's constitution in 2009, the National Organization for Marriage got one of its first electoral victories this year. The judicial retention elections appear to have resulted in the replacement of all three justices up for a vote this year.

Here, as of 3:35 a.m. and with 1767 out of 1774 precincts reporting, are the Iowa Secretary of State's election results:

Supreme Court Justice David L. Baker
Yes 443437 45.75%
No 525865 54.25%

Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Streit
Yes 442459 45.6%
No 527921 54.4%

Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus
Yes 437118 44.99%
No 534486 55.01%

The court was unanimous in its 2009 ruling that Iowa's constitution required marriage equality."

HEY #p2!--CALLING ALL PROGRESSIVE ALLIES!

-HEY #p2! (Progressives).

We can't do this alone.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have been fighting for over half a Century to have basic Civil Rights. We have so much to do, and we are such a small group. Without an army of Progressive allies, we can't win. Our rights as American citizens are constantly being compromised, despite life-time service to our nation as good, contributing citizens. We can't wait any longer. We need our Progressive allies to step up and go to bat for us TODAY.

We must demand Progressives have got to make LGBT rights a top priority in 2010, or we will keep being put on the back-burner.

There will ALWAYS be something more important than LGBT equality affecting America--issues like Health Care Reform and the Economy effect LGBT people too! However, when we are discriminated against under the law every single day, we can't give our all to fixing these problems. We are long overdue to be counted as equal citizens. That&#…

WHAT. THE. HELL? NEW HAMPSHIRE??? (and a prop 8 update)

Okay, first let me just say CALIFORNIA can breathe easy for a few more days as San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsome convinced the Supreme Court to hold of on releasing their decision on Prop 8 a few more days until the 30th anniversary of the White Night Riots is passed.  We're probably going to see it Tuesday, the following Thursday or THAT following Monday.  
NOW:  WHAT THE HELL, NEW HAMPSHIRE HOUSE?!?!?!?!???!?!?!?!????!
The NEW HAMPSHIRE House, which on May 6 APPROVED Marriage Equality by a vote of 178-167, has now stalled the REWRITTEN BY GOVERNOR JOHN LYNCH bill 188-186--That's right, folks, two votes.  25 members did not vote at all, and opponents of the bill failed to kill it in a 173-202 vote, but this STILL means we're waiting on NEW HAMPSHIRE to GET ITS SHIT TOGETHER!  The House passed a resolution to continue negotiating with the Senate by a vote of 207-168.  If that same number votes for the 're-re-renegotiated' bill in the next two weeks it will pass, but …