First Person History
By Cliff Arnesen
( Copyright 2007. The views expressed are strictly those of the writer and not necessarily those of BiNet USA or any of its other officers.
At around the age of four, my loving mother who, in an attempt to protect me from a violent, alcoholic father who physically abused both of us, reluctantly placed me in an orphanage. During my two years stay I was placed into a foster home, but was quickly returned to the orphanage because I was hyperactive.
At age six, I was discharged from the orphanage and sent back to live with my mother who lived on welfare in a one room apartment in Brooklyn, NY, as she had a heart condition which prevented her from working. During the last year of the four that we lived together, she took me out of school due to my hyperactivity and tried to school me at home because I could not read or write at age nine.
Realizing I needed special remedial attention, and understanding that she could not raise me alone on welfare in a cramped, one room apartment, at age ten, my mother sent me away to the predominately African American, Wiltwyck School for Boys. The same school which the late Claude Brown, author of the 1965 best selling book “Manchild In The Promised Land,” attended; as did former Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World, Mr. Floyd Patterson.
During the seven years I spent at Wiltwyck, I met and became friends with the late First Lady, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, who founded the Wiltwyck School, and who held annual summer picnics for all one hundred of us boys at her beautiful estate in Hyde Park, New York.
At age sixteen, I was discharged from Wiltwyck and sent back to live with my mother. At seventeen, I dropped out of high school in the tenth grade and talked my mother into signing a waiver for me to join the US Army–in an attempt to escape from a life of poverty, filled with despair and devoid of hope.
However, several weeks into basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, I realized that although I had managed to escape from the negative environment in Brooklyn, I had also painted myself into a corner. I felt cornered because I agonized over the painful reality of having to conceal the “attraction and affection” I felt in my heart toward some of the other soldiers. Also, I was well aware that I could be discharged or court-martialed for perjury — having lied on the entrance questionnaire which asked: “Are you a homosexual?” And, “Have you ever engaged in sexual activities with a member of the same sex?”
Nonetheless, I held my fears in check and completed basic training, went on to Advanced Infantry Training School (AIT), earned a military high school diploma, and finally, based upon my performance evaluation, was selected by my superiors to attend Trainee Leadership School. But, I never made it to the school, as I told my Company Commander that I was gay/bisexual, because I could no longer live my life as a lie and conceal my “secret.”
Thereafter, I was put under house arrest for several days, then transferred to the stockade on a “holding status,” where I was interrogated by agents from the Central Intelligence Division. (CID)
It was during the interrogation that the two agents told me that they thought I was a coward who made up the story of being gay in order to avoid combat duty in Vietnam. At that, and to my utter dismay, the Agents told me that they needed explicit “proof” –in the form of an act of sodomy — in order for me to satisfy their thinking that I was not lying. Needless to say I was shocked and bewildered that the agents would blackmail me because they did not believe the admission of my sexual orientation(s).
Therefore, due to the ultimatum by the agents–and against my inner will –I committed an “illegal” act of sodomy with another soldier. Afterwards, the other soldier and I were forced to sign a joint “confession.” Then, they ordered me to seek the council of a Roman Catholic Chaplain and a psychiatrist.
The next day, I had a brief session with the Chaplain, who simply told me that God still loved me despite my “sin.” The Chaplain’s words stung my heart, as I was persuaded to the core of my soul that all “love” had to be okay with God because God did not make mistakes! Thus, I was not a mistake!
However, it was during the interview with the psychiatrist that I felt a sense of relief and a glimpse of understanding when the officer asked, “Private Arnesen, do you like boys and girls? And, If so, have you ever had a sexual relationship with the opposite sex.” In response, I simply answered, “Yes.” After my affirmative reply he asked, “To whom are you most attracted to, boys or girls?”
Without hesitation, I told him my feelings were equal: I was physically and emotionally attracted to both genders. Then, he looked into my eyes and told me he agreed that I was bisexual, but warned me that I would be discharged as a “homosexual” because the military made no distinction between a person who was “homosexual or bisexual.”
Leaving his office under armed escort, I felt confused and lost, as I thought of myself as gay due to the rigid codes of sexual behavior within both the straight and gay communities. I thought I had to “identify” as gay because I didn’t know any bisexual people and lacked “acceptance” in the gay community if I told anyone I liked girls, too.
Then, one morning shortly after the interrogations and meetings, a young soldier with a loaded .45 caliber pistol entered my 8 x10 cement cell, handcuffed me, and ordered me at gunpoint to march several miles through Fort Dix to a courthouse — all the while taunting that he would “shoot to kill” me if I tried to escape.
Arriving at the courthouse, I was court court-martialed and sentenced to a year at hard labor in the stockade–of which I served four months in “segregated confinement,” as other prisoners had threatened to rape and kill me. After completing the sentence, I was sent back to my AIT unit to face further threats of death and psychological intimidation by my superiors and fellow soldiers.
Finally, on Wednesday, January 25, 1967, I was given an “Undesirable Discharge,” based on homosexuality — which effectively precluded my receiving any and all future VA medical and educational benefits — and escorted outside the gates of Fort Dix by two armed military policemen. But in a final act of defiance against the pain and humiliation I suffered at the hands of the military, I took a lighter out of my pocket, set fire to the discharge and threw it on the ground. Then I hitched a ride back to Brooklyn with nothing but a subway token in my pocket.
Returning home, I nervously told my mother I had been discharged because I liked guys, which she already knew, because I had previously admitted to her that I had played “doctor” with some of the boys when I attended Wiltwyck School. Thus, instead of being angry or blaming herself for my “condition”– like so many parents do — she told me that she loved me and it would remain our “secret.”
But five months later, my mother died of breast cancer. And, it was at my mother’s funeral that my sense of loss and despair turned to utter devastation when my drunken father angrily told me that he knew about my “secret” and disowned me forever.
Ten years later, in November of 1977, I petitioned the Department of the Army for an upgrade in discharge, which was granted and changed from “Undesirable” to “General Under Honorable Conditions.” But the psychological damage and feelings of humiliation of having to constantly lie to my friends, loved ones, and prospective employers, had taken its toll on my self esteem.
Consequently, I continued on a twenty-two years binge of self destructive abuse with drugs and alcohol, until I finally ended up having brain seizures which forced me to seek medical treatment at a VA hospital in Boston, in 1983. There, as I lay in a bed with needles in my veins to ease dehydration, tremors, hallucinations and heart palpitations, a doctor told me I would soon die from liver failure if I continued to drink a quart of vodka a day.
Not wanting to die, I attended AA meetings for a year, then went on to become the first person in my family to go to college and graduated with high honors. Later, in 1988, while taking a course at Harvard University Extension School, I attended a meeting of the New England Gay & Lesbian Veterans in Boston, MA. After the meeting, I dropped my course at Harvard’s Extension School, ran for office and was elected president.
Thereafter, during the winter of 1988, a VA nurse named Sheila Spicer, arranged a meeting between a dozen members of the New England G & L Veterans with Dr. Paul Camacho, Associate Director of the William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, University of Massachusetts, to discuss the possibility of GLB veterans’ representation in Washington, DC
After three hours of emotional dialogue on the issue of GL& B veterans in the military, Dr. Camacho agreed to let us participate in the upcoming Eighth Congressional Speaker’s Conference on the Concerns of Vietnam Veterans, held annually in Washington, DC.
Subsequently, on Wednesday, May 3, 1989, I, along with Mr. Stan Berry, a gay Vietnam veteran representing the San Diego Veterans Association, was able to finally advocate on behalf of our country’s GL& B military veterans.
On that day, I was deeply honored and humbled to become the first and only “openly bisexual veteran” in US History to testify before members of the US Congress, during formal hearings held before the US House Committee on Veterans Affairs: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations –addressing health care issues relating to GL&B veterans who suffered from AIDS, homelessness, Agent Orange, drug and alcohol abuse, and less-than-honorable homosexual and bisexual related discharges.
Likewise, a year later, on Wednesday, May 16, 1990, as president of the “renamed” New England Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans, Inc., Boston, MA, I once again testified as an openly bisexual veteran before Congress, as part of a special AIDS/HIV panel that included: Ms. ILonka Thomas, HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Medical Center, Boston, MA; Mr. Chuck Schoen, Public Affairs Officer representing the Veterans C.A.R.E. Redwood Empire, and the only predominately gay Alexander Hamilton, American Legion Post 448 in San Francisco; and Mr. Ken Huntington, President of the Texas Gay Veterans Association.
The next day, under the direction and leadership of lesbian veterans’ activist SSGT Miriam Ben-Shalom, and with the assistance of gay veterans, Navy Ensign, Jim Woodward, president of the San Diego Veterans Association; Bill Lake, First Officer, Veterans Council for Rights and Equality, Los Angeles, CA; Ken Huntington of the Texas Gay Veterans Association; Chuck Schoen and myself, formed the National Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America. Now known as the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).
For the record, I state my feelings of love and deep appreciation to all the aforementioned gay and lesbian veterans who voted to include the name “bisexual” within the national organization. They did so due to my insistence and personal friendship, but more importantly, because they understood that our collective struggle for emancipation in the military required unity my means of expanded inclusiveness.
Aside from forming the national GL&B Veterans of America, we also maintained a close working relationship with former Congressman Gerry Studds– a pioneer regarding the issue of gays in the military; Congressmen Barney Frank; the late and beloved Congressman Joe Moakley, former Congressman Joe Kennedy, and US Senators John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy.
On Sunday, March 15, 1992, in an effort to educate and enlighten heterosexual people on the issue of Gays in the Military, I donned my Army fatigues and, under a state court order and extremely heavy police protection, marched five miles– with 24 members of the GL&B Irish Group of Boston (GLIB) –through an anti-gay, hate filled crowd of a half million people through the streets of South Boston as an out bisexual Army veteran in Boston’s infamous St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Furthermore, on May 5, 1993, I, along with members and officers of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans, Inc., Boston, MA, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery to honor ALL of our country’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered veterans who died in service to our country.
After placing the wreath in front of the white marbled Tomb, I looked around at the endless sea of bright white crosses that dotted the cemetery, and my thoughts wandered to remember the late Air Force T/Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, whom I had seen lay a wreath in the very same spot as I during the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights, and whose epitaph on his tombstone had inspired me so, which read: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one.”
Unfortunately, shortly after the wreath laying ceremony, the Parent America Legion called it “an act of desecration,” and later submitted a bill before the US House Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, to permanently ban GL& B people from ever serving in the US Military. Nevertheless, the GLBVA and the New England GL& B Veterans pressed on with our collective advocacy.
Hence, for the first time in US History, on May 5, 1997, I –along with gay veterans James Darby, then National President of GLBVA; Marine Corps Cpl. Edward Clayton, VP, Public Affairs; Mr. Mel Tips, Treasurer, and Mr. Terry Tobias of the Veterans Advisory Council –met face to face inside the Pentagon with Mr. Frederick Pang, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy, and with his aide Colonel David Schreier, Principal Director and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy –to discuss our collective dissatisfaction with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy,
As the only openly bisexual officer of GLBVA, I was deeply honored to attend this historic meeting in which we opened up dialogue by pointing out to Mr. Pang that homosexual and bisexual related discharges had increased to an all-time high in 1996, when 850 servicemembers were discharged due to their actual or perceived sexual orientation(s).
Additionally, during the course of the one hour meeting, we called upon Mr. Pangto consider an independent military review board be established to investigate reported or suspected violations of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy; to hold base commanders responsible for violations which occurred under their commands; to push for repeal of the sodomy statutes contained in Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – which is the lynch-pin for discharge from the military, as it is arbitrarily applied and enforced against GL&B service members; to end efforts by the military to try and recover expenses for training from servicemembers who had been discharged for being GLB; to improve the treatment of veterans with HIV and AIDS at Veterans Administration hospitals; and to ponder the upgrading of all less-than-honorable discharges to the status of “honorable” in all cases where servicemembers were discharged solely on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation(s).
Two days later, officers and members of GLBVA and the New England GL&B Veterans, held another historic meeting inside the Old Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, with Mr. Richard Socarides, White House Special Assistant and Senior Advisor for Public Liaison to President Bill Clinton.
Once again, we presented the same set of issues to Mr. Socarides as we’d discussed with Mr. Pang and Colonel Schreier at the Pentagon. In turn, Mr. Socrates voiced his strong support for our struggle to lift the ban, and assured us that we would have continued future access to his office to discuss the inhumane “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy.
A week after the two historic meetings with White House and Pentagon officials, the Washington Post featured a front page article which stated that the Pentagon was reviewing the enforcement — not the merits — of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy.
And, a week after that, I received a personal letter from President William Jefferson Clinton, dated May 21, 1997, in which the President wrote:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding gays and lesbians.
Throughout my life, I have sought to heighten public awareness and promote inclusion in order to send a powerful message of equality and acceptance to people everywhere. Increased opportunity makes citizens more productive, building stronger communities and a stronger nation. I believe that we must continue to help people rise as far as their talents and determination can take them so that we can make the most out of our great diversity.
As I continue working to end discrimination and protect the civil rights of every citizen in our society, I appreciate knowing your views.”
While grateful that President Clinton had taken time to write about his efforts to work “to end discrimination and protect the civil rights of every citizen in our society,” I could not help but think about his failure to “speak up” against the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Pentagon and the US Congress, to sign an Executive Order as promised to lift the inhumane ban on GL&B people in the military. In my view, if the brass at the Pentagon didn’t like it, then the President, as Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, should have fired or demanded the resignation of all who resisted!
Further, President Clinton’s failure to sign the Executive Order ran even deeper for me on a personal level, as on Sunday, April 25, 1993, I put on my dress army uniform and, along with my girlfriend Claudia, shook hands with President Clinton in the North End of Boston. Seconds later, I handed one of the President’s Secret Service agents a copy of my written congressional testimony — which I had submitted to Senator Sam Nunn’s Senate Armed Services Committee Hearings on Gays in the Military in March of 1993 — in an effort to help persuade President Clinton to sign the Executive Order to lift the inhumane ban on “Gays in the Military.”
This said, I did not write back to President Clinton. But, had I responded, I would have submitted the last two paragraphs of which I concluded my May 16, 1990, testimony before the US House Committee on Veterans Affairs: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations:
“It is not in the best interest of the United States Military, nor our society, to maintain impediments and exclusionary policies toward gay, lesbian and bisexual people who want to serve our country.
Furthermore, silence and indifference on matters of human and civil rights by institutions that govern our society, is tantamount to immoral complicity in the perpetuation of prejudice, discrimination and fear.”
Personally, I feel that the inhumane “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass” military policy -codified into law by the US Congress and placed into effect on February 28, 1994 -is directly responsible for the brutal and cowardly murders of US Navy Seaman Allen Schindler and US Army PFC. Barry Winchell –both murdered in cold blood by their fellow servicemembers due to their actual or perceived sexual orientations; and for the discharge of more than 11,000 Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual American servicemembers, costing US Taxpayers in excess of $363 million to enforce and administer.
Moreover, since the US is now engaged in a global “war on terrorism,” our country needs every patriotic American to defend our Democracy. Yet, President George W. Bush has directed branches of the US Armed Forces to maintain a “Stop-Loss” policy which permits the military to retain servicemembers on active duty–while still permitting the discharge of GLBT servicemembers under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Also, prior to taking office, President George W. Bush said, “I’m a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, man.”
What President George W. Bush fails to understand is the fact that GLB & T people have fought in all of America’s wars with great honor and distinction, and have shed their blood and died on strange battlefields alongside their heterosexual servicemembers in defense of our great Nation.
This said, the US Congress has mandated that the military be able to simultaneously wage war on two fronts. But, with a military strength of 2.2 million servicemembers, this mandate is impossible to maintain and points out the illogical and cruel double standards of the US military, as it continues to discharge GLBT servicemembers during a global conflict which threatens the security of civilization, itself.
On another note, I wish all my GLBT brother and sister veterans to know, that during my nineteen years of advocacy as our country’s only “openly bisexual veteran” to lead a predominately gay and lesbian military veterans’ organization, I have taken “heat” from some organizations and individuals for speaking up so vociferously as an out bisexual veteran.
To these organizations and individuals I sincerely state: it is my moral and ethical responsibility to speak out on the issue of bisexuals in the military and within the larger gay community, as all should know what terrible consequences people can suffer when one does not “speak out” about external and internal injustice. I only seek acceptance and recognition for ALL bisexual people who have made enormous contributions in helping to secure human and civil rights for the larger gay community.
Also, during my nineteen years of advocacy as an openly bisexual veteran–which is a labor of love— I lost my job and put my life on the line during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston; and have received a half dozen death threats over the years.
Thus, please know that I am a soldier in the war against the dark forces in society which seek to destroy the human worth and dignity of “ALL” my gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual brothers and sisters.
To further illustrate the bisexual component of the equation regarding “Gays in the Military,” I bring to your attention the 1982 directive by the Department of Defense regarding bisexuals in the military, which states:
“Bisexual means a person who engages in, desires to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual AND heterosexual acts.”
“A member [of the Armed Forces] shall be separated if the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual–unless there is a further finding that the member is not a homosexual or bisexual.”
Unfortunately, the military sees things in black and white, and has not a clue as to the “gray area” which exists in between.
Personally, I wish we as human beings did not have to label our sexual orientation(s). However, as is the case in the military where bisexuality is “specifically” encoded as a basis for discharge, I must “speak up” when it is not fully integrated in the equation of “Gays” in the Military.”
Therefore, in order to secure human and civil rights–not special rights–and win the battle against the military and gain acceptance within society, I submit that all GLBT people must have, and maintain the mindset that “we are family.”
To this effect, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Therefore, I rest secure in the knowledge that ALL GLB&T people have a rightful place in the universe and within our society, as “we” are God’s children…and God does not make mistakes!
As for myself, I have learned in my painful journey through life that “love is where one finds it.”
In gratitude to all my “family.”
The struggle for emancipation from the bondage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” continues…
UNITED STATES SENATE
WASHINGTON, DC 20510
September 14, 1999
Thank you for sharing with me your letter to the President requesting a meeting on the unworkable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which I continue to oppose.
I know that we have made progress in extending civil rights since I introduced the Senate’s first-ever comprehensive gay civil rights bill in 1985, but much great work remains to be done.
I learned long ago while founding Vietnam Veterans Against the War that Washington is not the front-lines of any struggle for justice: federal legislators will always follow local activists when it comes to the extension of civil rights to all Americans, including gay men and lesbians who serve in the military.
This nation is a richer place for your courage and leadership.
All best wishes,
John F. Kerry
CONGRESS of the UNITED STATES
House of Representatives
December 13, 1999
Mr. Cliff Arnesen
PO Box 6599
John F. Kennedy Station
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Obviously I share your frustration that the President continues to be unwilling to do more to alleviate the outrageous impact of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. And I have recently voiced that displeasure in the enclosed letter to him which I have released to the press in Arizona. I’ll continue to work along with you to try to make changes in this.
601 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN 37228
November 4, 2000
Dear Mr. Arnesen:
Thank you so much for writing to me regarding the issue of gays enlisting in our country’s armed forces. I appreciate hearing from you concerning this controversial issue.
I believe that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy should be eliminated and that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve their country without discrimination. If I am entrusted with the presidency, I will make those changes and propose legislation in Congress to eliminate this form of discrimination. It is unacceptable that patriotic men and women who serve their nation with distinction are not only discharged, but suffer persecution and even violence.
As president, I will continue to fight against hate crimes wherever they occur. We all must stand together against bigotry, violence, prejudice and intolerance. Together, we can and will shape the 21st century into one where we are judged by our knowledge and contributions to society, rather than sexual orientation.
Again, thank you for writing and for your interest in a better future for our nation.
JAN. 1988 : Elected President of the New England, Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans, Boston, MA
May 3, 1989 and May 16, 1990 Testimonies Before the US Congress: became the first and only openly bisexual veteran in US history to testify on behalf of gay, lesbian and bisexual veterans before the US House Committee on Veterans Affairs: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, on issues relating to AIDS, PTSD, homelessness, gays in the military, and upgrading of less-than-honorable discharges based on homosexuality and bisexuality.
May 1990: (1 0f 5) Co-Founders of the National Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America
(Now named the American Veterans for Equal Rights. (AVER)
Author of “Coming Out to Congress”, p.233 :
“Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out”
Alyson Publications, Boston, MA
Loraine Hutchins & Lani Kaahumanu, Editors
Feb. 1991: Boston City Council Testimony: At the request of Boston City Councilor David Scondras, I presented oral testimony before the Boston City Council on the “Family Protection Act,” which would give state benefits to gay, lesbian & Bisexual “Domestic Partners.”
March, 7 1991: Interviewed by author Randy Shilts for his book: “Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military”
April, 20, 1991: Bi Any Other Name book signing at Glad Day Book store in Boston
August 27, 1991: Changed New England G & L Veterans name to include the name “bisexual.”
March 15, 1992: Under a state court order issued by Boston Judge, Harry Zobel, I marched a five mile route through South Boston under heavy police protection through an anti-gay hate filled crowd of a half million people, as an out bisexual US Army veteran in Boston’s infamous St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
CONGRESS: MARCH 5, 1993: Supplied official and permanent written Congressional testimony to Senator Sam Nunn’s US Senate Armed Services Committee, in an effort to lift the ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the military.
Sunday, 25 April 1993: Shook hands with President Bill Clinton in Boston’s North End, and handed a secret service agent a copy of my written congressional testimony to Senator Sam Nunn’s Committee, in an effort to persuade the president to lift the ban on G/L/B people in the military
MAY 5, 1993: Laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, along with officers/members of the New England, Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans, Boston, to honor all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered veterans who gave their lives in service to our country.
POLITICAL: Thursday, 19 September 1996: Worked as an individual and openly bisexual veteran on US Senator John F. Kerry’s Boston reelection campaign in Boston, Massachusetts
Feb, 16 1997: Appointed to a two year term as National Vice President, Legislative Affairs, by the Executive Board of the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America. Renamed, American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER)
Monday, 5, May 1997: PENTAGON MEETING : As National Vice President, Legislative Affairs for the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, I, along with four officers of the GLBVA, met at the Pentagon with Mr. Frederick Pang, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management to discuss our collective dissatisfaction regarding the US Military’s inhumane “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” policy
Thursday, MAY 7, 1997: WHITE HOUSE MEETING: As Vice President, Legislative Affairs for the Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, I, along with officers of GLBVA and the New England GLB Veterans, met with the “gay liaison” and Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton, Mr.
Richard Socarides, to discuss our collective displeasure with the US Military’ s’ inhumane Ask, “Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue” Policy.
1989: Keynote Speaker at the National Bisexual Conference, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1993: Keynote speaker at the Boston Ethical Society, Boston, MA
1993: Speaker, Men of all Colors Together: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
1998: Speaker, 5th International Bisexual Conference at Harvard University
ORGANIZATIONS & ADVISORY BOARDS: 1989-2004
(1 0f 5) Co-Founders, Natl. Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America, Inc.
(Now American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER)
Former National Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Veterans of America
Former President: New England Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Veterans, Inc., Boston, MA
Member: Alexander Hamilton, American Legion Post 448
Former Board Member: National Bisexual Advisory Board
Former Medical Patient Services Assistant, US Department of Veterans Affairs
US Army (Vietnam Era Veteran (1965-1967)