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OutServe Magazine | June 29, 2015

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The OutHeroes Project: LT Jeff Petrie

October 21, 2011 | Comments

In Honor of LT Jeff Petrie, USN
USNA ’89

By Tom Carpenter, Esq.

Long before West Point’s Knights Out or Air Force Academy’s Blue Alliance, Jeff Petrie founded USNA Out and fought for formal recognition of his group by the Naval Academy.

Achieving national status in gymnastics while growing up in Oregon, Jeff Petrie was recruited by many colleges during his senior year at South Eugene High School. At the urging of his grandfather, who had served as a Navy officer in WWII, Petrie chose to attend the Naval Academy. As a midshipman, he competed on the men’s varsity gymnastics team and was elected by his teammates to be Team Captain senior year. Petrie graduated in May 1989 with a B.S. in Economics.

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The OutHeroes Project: Captain Phil Adams

September 18, 2011 | Comments

In Honor and Loving Memory of Captain Phil Adams, USMC

By Tom Carpenter, Esq. and Sue Fulton

Former Marine Captain Phil Adams, USNA ’83, was a founding member of SAGALA and an early volunteer for SLDN. In his own words, from an article written for HRC:

I grew up in San Francisco and lived in the Castro before it became known as a gay neighborhood. I entered the U.S. Naval Academy in the summer of 1979 and excelled there. My grades were excellent, and I was busy as captain of my battalion’s crew team. I embraced Christianity as my excuse for why I wasn’t dating girls — further delaying issues regarding my sexuality. I was conflicted about my sexual orientation, my religion, and the military’s and society’s homophobic norms.

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The OutHeroes Project: Specialist Jose Zuniga

September 17, 2011 |

In Honor of Specialist Jose Zuniga

by Sue Fulton

Joe Zuniga, the only son in his conservative Mexican-American family, enlisted in the Army in 1989 after graduating from Texas A&M with a degree in journalism. He had turned down an appointment to West Point to stay close to his mother, who was ill with stomach cancer, but coming from a long line of soldiers, he felt drawn to military service. His mother’s experience drew him away from journalism and toward medicine, thus his selection of a medic specialty.

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The OutHeroes Project: Corporal Kevin Blaesing

September 14, 2011 |

In Honor of Corporal Kevin Blaesing

by Michelle Benecke, Esq.

Marine Corporal Kevin Blaesing was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina with the Marine Security Force in the early 1990s, and served under the mis-named “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. In the course of private counseling sessions with a Navy psychologist, he asked some general questions about sexuality and sexual orientation. Because the psychologist was a Naval officer, he was not bound to keep this information confidential, and he voluntarily reported Blaesing as gay. Fortunately, Blaesing’s commander did not act on this information and Blaesing continued to serve – until there was a change in command. The new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Martinson, reacted differently.

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The OutHeroes Project: Major Margaret Witt

September 12, 2011 |

In Honor of Major Margaret Witt

by Michelle Benecke, Esq.

“I always wanted to be a nurse so I could help people. I joined the Air Force so I could help my country. I always thought that was the mission, until 2004 when I was discharged under DADT. After it happened, my friend and role model, Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, told me I had a new mission – to help lead the way toward the day when all people could serve their country – and their military families – openly. And so, here we are, seven years later, and we’ve won: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is ending. It’s been a long battle, made so much easier by the love and support of my partner, Laurie, my family, my military friends, and the phenomenal legal support of my attorney, Jim Lobsenz, and the ACLU in Seattle. I will always wish I could have finished my career the way I started it. Read More

The OutHeroes Project: Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Timothy McVeigh

September 9, 2011 | Comments

In Honor of Senior Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Timothy McVeigh

by Michelle Benecke, Esq.

Timothy McVeigh was a senior enlisted leader onboard the nuclear submarine USS Chicago when the Navy tried to discharge him in 1997 based on information the Navy fraudulently obtained from America Online (AOL).

McVeigh challenged his discharge in federal court and, on January 29, 1998, Judge Stanley Sporkin granted a permanent injunction to prevent the Navy from discharging McVeigh. In a strongly worded opinion, Judge Sporkin ruled that the Navy violated the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by failing to obtain the required warrant or court order before seeking information about McVeigh from AOL. He termed the Navy’s actions a “search and destroy mission” and wrote that the Navy “went too far” in pursuing McVeigh.

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The OutHeroes Project: Nicole Galvin

September 6, 2011 |

In Honor of Nicole Galvin

by Michelle Benecke, Esq.

After three years at West Point, Nicole Galvan was looking forward to graduating from the academy the following year and being commissioned as an Army officer. Instead of joining the long grey line, however, she joined the long line of women who were lesbian baited and forced to leave under DADT.

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The OutHeroes Project: CPT Michelle Benecke

September 3, 2011 | Comments

In Honor of Captain Michelle Benecke

by Sue Fulton

Former Army Captain Michelle Benecke is a co-founder and former CEO of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). She and colleague Dixon Osburn formed SLDN the day after President Clinton announced DADT in 1993 to assist military members and implement a long term strategy to overturn DADT. Establishing an advocacy organization for military members had long been a goal of Benecke’s based on her experience as an Army officer.

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The OutHeroes Project: CPT Tanya Domi

September 1, 2011 | Comments

In Honor of Captain Tanya Domi, US Army

by Sue Fulton

Former Army Captain Tanya Domi was National Gay & Lesbian Task Force’s (NGLTF) lead in fighting the gay ban in 1992-93.

Tanya Domi enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1974. Her high scores qualified her for specialized training in Military Intelligence, and she was sent to Ft. Devens – site of one of the most infamous witch hunts of the 1970s. Tanya barely even considered herself gay at that point, though she had “kissed a girl” in Basic Training, but when a group of friends went into Boston to a gay bar, she went along. Within 24 hours of their return, all of the women were called into CID, read their rights, and asked “did you go to a gay bar?” Having grown up in a progressive family, she knew enough to contact the local ACLU. Thanks to her, many of the women were provided legal assistance; but she got the reputation of being a “barracks lawyer,” and she suffered as a result. Read More

The OutHeroes Project: Capt Rich Richenberg

August 21, 2011 |

In Honor of Captain Rich Richenberg, US Air Force

by Michelle Benecke, Esq.

Rich Richenberg served in Desert Storm One, where he commanded the control center aboard the AWACs aircraft and garnered numerous accolades as an Air Force officer. He was top notch; it was widely accepted that he was destined for the highest ranks. That all unraveled when he acknowledged he was gay.

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