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Author Topic: Soldier forced out of army after attack, death threats by own troops
Hephaestion
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posted 24 December 2005 01:10 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post


quote:
(QD) Pvt. Kyle Lawson, 19, is leaving the Army following an assault at Fort Huachuca, 75 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona. He was attacked by his fellow soldiers after they learned that Lawson is gay and has been sleeping on a cot in his drill sergeant's office to protect him from further attacks. His nose broken, he was threatened with a knife after a friend let Lawson's secret slip at a party. Lawson has requested a discharge. "I can't keep living a lie. It's not safe for me here," he said, who is described by friends and family as smart, moral and hardworking.


In a related matter...

Dead soldier's mom accuses military of ignoring attacks on gays

quote:
The mother of a soldier killed in a homophobic attack by fellow members of the military is accusing the federal government of doing little or nothing to end hate attacks following a series of attacks on another gay soldier.

"My husband Wally and I are outraged to learn that yet another Army Private has been the target of harassment and violence at the hands of a fellow soldier," Patricia Kutteles, mother of slain Army Private First Class Barry Winchell said on Friday.

[...]

In 1999 Kutteles's son, Army Private First Class Barry Winchell, was perceived as gay because he was seeing Calpernia Addams, a pre-op transsexual. Winchell was beaten to death with a baseball bat in his barracks. Two men are currently in prison for the attack and his death sparked demands the military combat homophobia in the ranks.  

In 2000, the Pentagon announced it would take concrete steps to curb anti-gay harassment in our military and to hold accountable those who harass and condone harassment. 

"Nearly six years later, Pentagon leaders have failed to keep their promise," said Kutteles. "The time has come for them to do just that, or for Congress to hold them accountable if they do not."

In a statement released Friday Kutteles said the attack on Private Lawson and the Pentagon's failure to hold the perpetrators responsible were inexcusable.

"'Don't ask, don't tell' impacts every service member ­ gay and straight alike ­ by creating a weapon to end careers and endanger service members through accusations, finger-pointing and rumor." she said. 

"Unless Pentagon leaders finally get a clue and lead the way in combating harassment and discrimination, I fear that attacks like these will continue to make headlines."

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sandy47
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posted 24 December 2005 01:32 PM      Profile for Sandy47     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Jeezuz.

If the accepted math of percentage of gay to hetero in society is correct, and I have no reason to believe it isn't; I wonder a)how many men(?) attacked him, and b) how many of those that helped to beat him were also gay?


From: Southwest of Niagara - 43.0° N 81.2° W | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 24 December 2005 01:49 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Sandy --

You are assuming that the percentages in general society are reflected within the armed forces, and that is an assumption that I don't think is necessarily true. I would like to think that in the case of an armed forces that is so virrulently and vociferously homophobic, the vast majority of LGBT people would want nothing whatsoever to do with it. Of course, under this stupid "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, there's no way to gauge for certain...

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 24 December 2005 02:27 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post


And here's another good one...

[ 24 December 2005: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sandy47
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posted 24 December 2005 02:41 PM      Profile for Sandy47     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Hephaestion:
Sandy --

You are assuming that the percentages in general society are reflected within the armed forces, and that is an assumption that I don't think is necessarily true. I would like to think that in the case of an armed forces that is so virrulently and vociferously homophobic, the vast majority of LGBT people would want nothing whatsoever to do with it. Of course, under this stupid "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, there's no way to gauge for certain...


Don't Ask Don't Tell is likely a huge decision making factor when combined with sheer economic need, which is what drives the bulk of USians who do sign on to the forces. Poverty doesn't care one way or the other about anyone's sexual preferences.


From: Southwest of Niagara - 43.0° N 81.2° W | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
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posted 24 December 2005 03:05 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Sandy47:
I wonder a)how many men(?) attacked him, and b) how many of those that helped to beat him were also gay?

I know you didn't mean it this way, Sandy, but in general I find it a bit tiresome that the common reaction to news of anti-gay violence is the presumption that surely some of the attackers were closetted gay people. To be sure, gay people say that right along with str8 folks; I don't get it.

Why is it so hard to for people to imagine that when violence breaks out it is almost always str8 on gay violence, and seldom the result of some closet-case freaking out?

Almost all gay people spend some time in the closet-- I did, my boyf did, every gay person I know did-- oddly enough, somehow we all managed to negotiate the pitfalls of that hidden existence without seeking to beat anybody to death.

Apologies if I'm just being a cranky, old homo.


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Makwa
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posted 24 December 2005 03:10 PM      Profile for Makwa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I hope Pvt. Lawson sues.
From: Here at the glass - all the usual problems, the habitual farce | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sandy47
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posted 24 December 2005 04:09 PM      Profile for Sandy47     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Tape_342:
Why is it so hard to for people to imagine that when violence breaks out it is almost always str8 on gay violence, and seldom the result of some closet-case freaking out?
Apologies if I'm just being a cranky, old homo.

I get that Tape, but I was thinking more along the lines of a fear of the finger then being pointed at themselves and thereby risking becoming the next one the mob comes for through the simple expedient of refusing to take part in the violence. I guess I was making a weak attempt to link the fear they must feel in those circumstances to the 'good German' syndrome.


From: Southwest of Niagara - 43.0° N 81.2° W | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 24 December 2005 04:15 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I hope Pvt. Lawson sues.


Sues who, the army, or his attacker? I could be mistaken, but I believe under the provisions of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", he cannot. Even though he was "outed" and never "told on himself", the fact that he is gay *did* become common knowledge without the army "ferreting it out".

As for his attacker, oh, he's being held responsible all right, even though he apparently tried that good ol' defense of "he hit on me!" From the 365gay.com article:

quote:
The soldier accused of hitting Lawson told police that Lawson made sexually suggestive remarks.

The Sierra Vista police officer who investigated the case says "there was no provocation."

[...]

Police charged Lawson's alleged attacker with 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.

But, the army has done little to prosecute the alleged attacker in a military court. Lawson said as far as he knows, his attacker was punished by losing some privileges, such as having his weekend pass revoked.


Awwww... poor boy got his pass revoked! Bastards.

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Sandy47
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posted 24 December 2005 05:34 PM      Profile for Sandy47     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How many people attacked him? One? The original post intimated more.

quote:
He was attacked by his fellow soldiers

Ahhh... ne'er mind. I just found the longer story.

[ 24 December 2005: Message edited by: Sandy47 ]


From: Southwest of Niagara - 43.0° N 81.2° W | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 25 December 2005 08:38 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We say "Don't ask, don't tell" as if it were a new or at least distinct policy. Really it's just the closet. And its main consequence remains: whatever gay doldiers do do, including, presumably, some fine soldierly things by now, is not associated with being gay. So the prejudice will never be displaced by the one thing that would displace it most effectively -- actual role-model anecdotes.

Particularly disappointing when there's a war on, and so opportunities for such stories abound -- doing very well in training would never suffice.


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 30 December 2005 02:27 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Frank Chastises Army Chief Over Attack On Gay Soldier

quote:
(Washington) Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) says the military appears to be ignoring a commitment made in 2000 to curb anti-gay harassment in the forces and to hold accountable those who harass fellow soldiers.

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 06 January 2006 05:05 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Kyle Lawson receives honourable discharge, but his attacker remains unpunished

quote:
A 19-year old Army Private who was beaten by one soldier and threatened by another after they learned he is gay has been discharged.

[...]

Police charged Private Zacharias Pierre with 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.

Using military regulations officials at Fort Huachuca took control of the case, dropping the charges laid by Sierra Vista police. They have refused to say if any appropriate action has been taken to hold his attacker accountable but media reports indicate that Pierre has received only a slap on the wrist - the withdrawal of a weekend pass.

Lawson requested the discharge following the attack.

Thursday night he left the military with an honorable discharge, a suggestion that military police agreed with local authorities that the attack on him had been unprovoked.

The discharge papers contain space for illegal or problematic behavior to be noted. Each of those spaces in Lawson's paperwork contains the word "none."

"It's bittersweet," Lawson said of his departure from the military. "On one hand, it will be better for me because I can be who I am. But I'm going to miss it a lot. I really loved it," he told the Arizona Daily Star.

While Lawson begins his new life as a civilian the underlying issue of homophobia in the military remains.

"The command at Fort Huachuca owes Private Lawson, Congress and the public an explanation about why an anti-gay attack appears to have gone unpunished," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

"Harassment will continue to flourish and commanders will continue to condone that harassment, as they appear to have done in this case, so long as it remains official policy to discharge soldiers for being gay," said Osburn. 

"Congress and the Pentagon must repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' immediately and impose strict penalties against those who engage in any form of harassment. If America is fighting for democracy abroad, it must abide by those same principles at home."

[ 06 January 2006: Message edited by: Hephaestion ]


From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 12 January 2006 06:03 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Kyle Lawson tells his side
From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged

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