The United States Air Force Academy defended this week the employment of Dr. Mike Rosebush, a prominent ex-gay therapist who worked with both Exodus and NARTH and who also served as a vice president at Focus on the Family. He’s been working for the Academy since 2009 — before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) — but this revelation was uncovered earlier this week by blogger John Aravosis. The Academy is now trying to sugarcoat what it’s like for LGBQ cadets without explaining why Rosebush is there.
First, the Academy informed Aravosis that Rosebush is not in charge of “counseling” cadets, but merely “coaching” them on good character and leadership skills. It’s unclear what this distinction means — if anything — given that Rosebush identified his own ex-gay training methods as “Sanctification Coaching” in a book published the same year he was hired. The Academy declined to comment whether Rosebush’s writing and experience impacted his hiring, claiming to have no records of his hiring process, even though they defend his “background in leadership development and analytical skills.” The Academy also declined to comment whether the “coaching” course Rosebush designed has changed at all since the repeal of DADT.
On Thursday, the Academy issued a statement stating that the top brass had met with a group of gay cadets, claiming that they had no concerns whatsoever:
In that forum, the cadets expressed to Academy leaders that they are proud to be in the Air Force and do not feel like the Air Force Academy culture inhibits them in any way. Rather, they expressed their concerns about the media reports and how those reports may affect the decision of young Americans to attempt to come to the Academy.
One closeted gay cadet, however, tells a very different story. He wrote a letter to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation explaining that he does not feel the Academy is a welcoming place:
I saw USAFA’s self serving press release today about how “happy” all the gay cadets are here. How nice of all of the powers that be to meet with the Spectrum Club all of the sudden now that they’re in the shits with the media and getting jacked up everywhere for hiring Rosebush. Of course to be in Spectrum you have to out yourself. If I and the many other cadets I know who are LGB came out it would be devastating for our cadet and future Air Force careers. I could never stay on my intercollegiate team. Being LGB here is like not being an “all in” Christian. You’re finished.
The Family Research Council defended Rosebush this week, suggesting, “Obviously, if anyone needs an ENDA, it’s conservatives.” The Employment Non-Discrimination Act adds employment protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity; religious identity has been protected under law for nearly half a century.