"Top West Point Cadet Resigns Over DADT: ‘I Have Lied To My Classmates And Compromised My Integrity’"
Yesterday, West Point Cadet Katherine Miller, a junior ranked 9th in her class, came out to her superiors and offered her resignation, explaining that she could no longer comply with the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy:
Specifically, I have created a heterosexual dating history to recite to fellow cadets when they inquire. I have endured sexual harassment for fear of being accused as a lesbian by rejecting or reporting these events. I have been coerced into ignoring derogatory comments towards homosexuals for fear of being alienated for my viewpoint. In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity and my identity by adhering to existing military policy.
While at the academy, I have made a deliberate effort to develop myself academically, physically, and militarily, but in terms of holistic personal growth I have reached a plateau. I am unwilling to suppress an entire portion of my identity any longer because it has taken a significant personal, mental, and social toll on me and detrimentally affected my professional development. I have experienced a relentless cognitive dissonance by attempting to adhere to §654 and retain my integrity, and I am retrospectively convinced that I am unable to live up to the Army Values as long as the policy remains in place.
Interestingly, Miller was active around DADT issues throughout her time at the academy. She conducted “a study of the cadet attitudes on the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’” policy and worked with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) — two LGBT focused organisations. Blogging under the pseudonym Private Second Class Citizen for the velvet park, Miller reported on the “underground” lesbian culture in the Academy and the harassment she underwent to remain in the closet:
CADET: Don’t be so mean to me! I’ll… I’ll… I’ll… I don’t know. Let your secret out to the company?
MILLER: That I’m a whore or that I’m a lesbian? Because female cadets only fall into one category or the other here. No exceptions, apparently. [...]
CADET: Well, since you said you were one of the two choices… and since almost every guy in the company has tried to hook up with you… and since rumors fly… and since I haven’t heard any wild hook up rumors about you… I think it can logically be deduced… Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. [...]
MILLER: I’ll admit then, you have a well calibrated gaydar, my friend.
CADET: You still have a lot of people wondering. I don’t know if they’re wondering or just wishing it wasn’t so, but you’re still a hot topic for debate.
MILLER: Really? Who is wondering about me? Not that it matters, but I’m curious.
CADET: The normal people. I’m sure you can guess. Most of it is just a defense mechanism reaction to wanting a cadet girl, though. They know they’ll never have a chance with you, so they try to tell themselves that it’s because you must be a lesbian.
As she concluded, “The ‘normal people’ to whom my friend was referring was a classmate that lived down the hall from my barracks room. He would… attempt to impress me with his testosterone-driven activities. Predictably, I was less than receptive.” “But according to him, my sexuality must have been the only reason I didn’t fall head over heels. And the fact that his busted ego could have gotten me thrown out of the military (a term known as ‘lesbian baiting’) is a tad unfair. Thank you, DADT, for once again being a social policy failure.”
Five minutes later I rushed haphazardly into my professor’s office. I was sweating in my shiny, plastic Chorofram shoes, and after feeling my pulse my throat I became aware of how tight my collar was around my neck. “Ma’am, do you have a second,” as I closed her office door behind me, consciously worsening the stuffiness in the room and in my heavy wool uniform. Without waiting for a response, I seated myself. “Ma’am I’m transferring next semester. And I need a leader of recommendation in three days. For a scholarship for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students.”
“So does that mean you’re-?”
“And you’re leaving because of Don’t Ask, Don’t-”
She studied me for a second, asked a series of questions for clarification, and agreed to write me a letter of recommendation.
As soon as I was out of her sight, I did a little Jersey Shore fist pump in the air.
Miller plans to reapply to West Point “in the event of repeal of §654 and enactment of a non-discrimination policy” and will “participate in formation and implementation of the repeal of§654 via means of academia and political activism.” “I only hope that the forced discharge of a capable West Point cadet will raise awareness to the injustice imposed upon military personal throughout their time of service,” she wrote back in March.