Gay and lesbian cadets and midshipmen in the nation’s service academies are struggling to come out in the aftermath of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a report by the Huffington Post’s Max Rosenthal finds. While “attitudes among cadets are generally accepting,” and “no formal complaints or reports have been lodged,” some senior enlisted people have reportedly made off-color remarks about gay members, and a formal support group for LGBT cadets does not exist:
One gay midshipman in his senior year, who requested anonymity, said the environment at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., was “better, but it still has a long way to go.” He was reluctant to reveal his sexuality to classmates for fear that subordinates would question his leadership, and he knew of other midshipmen who had come out to mixed receptions.
The lack of more formal support groups at the academies is largely a result of similar concerns, interviewed cadets said. Officials at West Point, the Naval Academy and Air Force said they would be open to requests for support groups, and there are efforts underway at Coast Guard to launch a peer support group. But many gay students may not be prepared for such open recognition.
“The biggest group of resistance has been the gay and lesbian midshipmen,” the senior midshipman said. “We said we’re not ready to do this as a group yet. That’s almost across the board.“
Generally, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been without incident, with the staunchest military supporters of the policy embracing gay and lesbian service members .