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The "H" scarlet letter! Privacy after beeing outed for DADT.

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The "H" scarlet letter!


The U.S. Department of Defense sent an Army veteran a letter saying that the reason for his separation from the military on his discharge paperwork would be changed from “homosexuality” to "secretarial authority."


Nicholson, who was raised in South Carolina, was honorably discharged from his post with the Army as a human intelligence collector after being outed in March 2002.


He was one of thousands of gay intelligence personnel to lose their jobs in the post-9/11 world — when the need for qualified people in those roles to help protect the nation was particularly high.


Nicholson became the public face of the fight against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" after founding Servicemembers United, a one-issue organization dedicated to overturning the discriminatory policy.


In 2011, he wrote a book, "Fighting to Serve,” about his experiences in the fight to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."


But the branding of “homosexuality” on his DD214 hung over his head like a “little scarlet H.”


“It’s a little awkward because you have to show your military paperwork to people sometimes,” he said. “Especially when you’re younger and going for employment, you’re basically outed every time.”



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When I was in the Army, in the 70's, they told us that anything less than an honorable discharge would follow you for the rest of your life and make life very difficult. At that time a lot of guys got what were then called "general discharges" for being disciplinary problems, drugs, and occasionally for being gay. Being gay wasn't that much of a problem then because of the war - the manpower requirement was high enough that they generally turned a blind eye to gays. I have talked with a lot of these guys who had been "212'd" (after the number of the Army regulation under which they had been discharged). By and large, their discharges were never an issue. They went back to civilian life, went to school, married, or whatever anybody did back then after the military and it never came up.

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