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OutServe Magazine | April 4, 2013

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Ask Sarge: On Partner Benefits & Drag Queens

Ask Sarge: On Partner Benefits & Drag Queens
Ask Sarge

Dear Sergeant,

My partner is a new recruit and we have a family. We have been told that as long as she proves she provides 50 percent of financial support for the family, she could put them on her contract, ensuring our family could accompany her to most stations the military sends her. I’m so afraid that they will separate our family and totally devastate our kids and myself. Can you give me more information on this?

Please Help Us ,
The Richardson Family


Hello Richardson Family,

To help find information, I contacted the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) office at my base to find out what the regulations stated about your particular circumstance. Unfortunately, I did not get any particularly good news for you.  In order for a non-married military member to claim a child as a dependent in the system, they need court-approved proof that he or she provides more than 50 percent of the child’s financial support, legal adoption papers or a marriage certificate showing that they are a step or adoptive parent, and a legal paternity test or court-approved birth certificate showing that they are biologically related. Additionally, the DEERS system will not allow a military member to formally acknowledge and claim a same-sex spouse as a dependent, which would be the only other way around this situation.

My advice to you is that you familiarize yourself with the legal, second-parent adoption policies in your state of residence and begin this process immediately.  Once the child is legally adopted, they are considered dependents and can be recognized in DEERS. Even then, only the child will be eligible for command-sponsored relocations with your service member. You would have to make arrangements to join your family on your own, unfortunately.

Sadly, I find myself giving very similar answers to gay military families these days. We are now eight months post-“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, and the only significant change to the military system is that active duty members are allowed to serve openly. Though we are diligently working toward recognition of the rest of our civil rights, this process is still only beginning. I wish you the best!



Dear Sarge,

I am interested in becoming a drag queen. Somebody told me there are four steps. What are they?

Sybil Wrights



There are indeed four steps to becoming a drag queen; and Miss Noxzema Jackson eloquently explains this to Señorita Chi Chi Rodriguez as they set out across America in a ‘67 land yacht in the movie “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar.” The first step is “let good thoughts be your sword and shield.” Step two: “ignore adversity.” Step three, “obey the rules of love.” And finally, “live larger than life, the perfect size.” I think no matter who or what you are, these are good rules to live by.