Joann Newak had been sentenced to seven years hard labor. She was 23 years old, just coming to terms with her attraction to women. It landed her in maximum security military prison. “The very first lesbian relationship I had was with the partner that testified against me at my court marshall,” she says. “It’s like screwing around for the first time and getting pregnant. That was my first experience.”
The year wasn’t 1930. The country wasn’t on some far-flung continent. It was 1982. She was stationed in New York.
Newak is among an estimated 100,000 LGBTQ former service members that were discharged without an “honorable” distinction. When “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” (DADT) the military policy banning service members from serving openly, was repealed, their discharges were never upgraded. More than 30 years later, she considers, for the first time, that she may be owed an honorable discharge. Her attorney, Elizabeth Kristen, says they are going to pursue legal options to obtain one.
Continue reading at: https://intomore.com/impact/Former-Lesbian-Air-Force-Member-Considers-Legal-Action-After-Dishonorable-Discharge-And-Hard-Labor-Sentence-in-1982/3ea2d7cf64db42dc
A 90-year-old lesbian has won her campaign to see her expulsion from the military changed to an honorable discharge.
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The lead plaintiff of an Atlantic Canadian lawsuit against the Department of National Defence says she’s eager to hear an official apology this afternoon in Ottawa.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said 57-year-old Alida Satalic of Dartmouth, N.S., who has travelled to Ottawa to hear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau say Canada is sorry for decades of harassment of LGBT people in the military, RCMP and federal civil service.
Continue reading at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/military-lgbt-apology-military-postal-clerk-1.4421657 (Source)
[Helen] James was arrested and put through hours of humiliating interrogation. The questions were so harsh and disgusting James had to run to the latrine because she felt sick. Finally, after an interrogator threatened to go to her family, James relented. She said she would sign whatever they wanted.
Her military career was over when she inked her name on the document. On March 3, 1955, James received an “undesirable” discharge from the Air Force.
Continue reading at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/ (Source)
Though ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ had been repealed since, they still experienced difficulties being openly together.
‘We came into the Army quite aware that we were gay way before joining. It definitely still had a stigma when we were in. Really the treatment varied. One sergeant that we had was on a lesbian witch hunt, while another protected us. Overall though, it wasn’t a major issue,’ said Turner
Continue reading at: This lesbian couple fell in love during basic training and couldn’t kiss until their last day (Source)
Cammermeyer stepped into the spotlight when, despite being a decorated soldier, she was given an honorable discharge on June 11, 1992. This came following her admission that she was a lesbian during a routine security clearance interview in 1989. Though this dashed her dream of becoming a Chief Nurse of the National Army Guard, it started her on the road of legal disputes as she filed a lawsuit against the decision in civil court. This paid off in June 1994, when Judge Thomas Zilly of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that her discharge and the ban on homosexuals serving in the military were unconstitutional.
Continue reading at: Margarethe Cammermeyer breaks the military silence | Lesbian News (Source)
“They were doing these big witch-hunts on us… it was terrifying to a 17-year-old kid,” Jeffries said. “They’d been following us. They’d done a log, like at 2.35 on Thursday afternoon you drove 4.6km and you stopped at this hamburger shop, then you drove down the river and were there for 3.5 hours.”
Continue reading at: This Is What Happened To Gay People In The Military Before The Ban Was Lifted (Source)