Sorting it all out:
After all of that, it was pretty obvious that I needed to figure some things out. It didn’t help that, now there was a rumor about me being gay floating around. I really hadn’t had the time to consider it for myself and what it all meant. I haven’t had a gay date, had sex with a guy or heck, even looked at any gay porn yet.
I already had a lesbian friend in my unit, who I was really close to anyway. I don’t know why, she and I just clicked right off the bat when we first met.
I didn’t tell her any of this stuff though but she had heard the rumor anyway.
Michelle (that’s her name) made it a point to come and talk to me when she heard the rumor. I told her, it was just a rumor and I wasn’t sure but, I was really putting some thought to it all.
In my head, I was still thinking about all the things in my past. How when I was younger I gravitated toward the male teachers and I did actually have fantacies of seeing them nude. Or when I would see anything remotely related to sex I would usually be watching the guy more closely. How pr0n with 2 girls and no guy in it never made sense to me and I always fast forwarded it to something else.
Michelle asked if I would want to go to the bar with her. I wasn’t old enough to drink but, you just had to be 18 to get in so long as you weren’t drinking. I thought about it and said “why not, it’s not like anyone is going to force me to do anything that I don’t want to do”.
At the bar
That Friday we went out to the semi local gay bar. Not many soldiers there but a few I could spot by how they walked and how their hair was cut.
It was actually a really fun night! A lot of guys were staring at me like they were starving and I was the last sandwitch on a lunch tray. That attention was nice, but I still wasn’t sure of what all was going on.
I did have a nice long conversation with a guy named Chris. He was also in the Army but he knew he was gay already and had been for some time.
I had things to do in the morning so I called the night fairly early and went home.
Am I a bar fly now?
The next night, Michelle asked me to go back to the bar with her. This time, she was bringing Larry. Larry was another guy in our unit who I was pretty good friends with but didn’t know he was gay until just then.
Chris was there again, and laid on a line that I knew was a line but it was cute anyway. “I don’t come here often but I was hoping to see you out here again”. Brownie points for the compliment, not so much for the transparency of it all. I was confused about my sexuality, not completely stupid!
Ah, but stupid I was. That was the night I decided to ask Chris out on, what was to be the first in many gay dates to come.
First date went well
Our first date was the following Friday. I hadn’t been very many places in the surrounding towns of Ft Hood so we took a really nice drive around. We hung out at a park. Browsed the Hastings media store. Stopped for some BBQ.
It was really nice! We ended up capping the evening off at his house (which was off post), where his neighbors (a lesbian couple) and he had a small get together planned so that I could meet some of his friends.
And then, we stayed together for nearly 2 years!
Meanwhile back at the post
Those two years pretty much were hell. Not for the relationship (well, not generally) but for what all was happening on the “work” front.
Don’t get me wrong, I was proud to join and proud to serve. I thought I’d do wonderful amazing things. I did everything to task and on time, always.
The soldier myth
Most civilians think that the Army is this well oiled machine forged from hundreds of years of tradition. They think there is a different set of rules and they assume that you signed a contract and took an oath and so on. While that’s sort of accurate, there are some deeper issues at play.
How many people at 18, 19 or even 20 years old were actually responsible adults who understood what they wanted or needed in life? I’m purely speculating, it’s not that many.
Throughout my time in the Army, I saw more suicide attempts (I was a Chaplain’s assistant after all), more people going AWOL, more soldiers as confused as I was about everything in life than I ever thought I would. Most of us viewed the Army as if it were a job. I mean, it kind of was.
You could live wherever you wanted so long as, if called you could be at HQ within 60 minutes. You had a barracks room which you could use how you wanted so long as it was presentable for inspection at any given moment.
You’re work day starts at 9 and ends at 5, Monday – Friday. The only exception is that, you were expected to go to Physical Training in the morning (usually at 6 or 7 depending on your unit). Also excepting the fact that I was a Chaplain’s Assistant, so that means I worked most Sundays as well.
Where the Army is different than everywhere else is that, you can’t just quit and they can’t just fire you. You can be ‘punished’ for your actions in ways that you can’t in the civilian world. For instance, should you accidently bounce a check from your personal account and they get wind of it, they can make you paint rocks or mop floors on the weekends.
And then, I was “Outed”:
That’s right, I was outed by someone in my unit who knew for a fact that I was gay. Actually, most people that I was close to knew, and didn’t care. To the rest of them, it was just a rumor. They didn’t know for sure.
At any rate, you know how if they don’t ask or you don’t tell, there’s nothing they can do? Well, WRONG. I’ve had all sorts of stuff happen. From superiors piling humanly impossible things on me to them removing my computer from my office to make it look like I stole it. I’m not kidding. I actually had to drag myself down to CID (Criminal Investigation Division) and beg them to give me a polygraph test and to investigate the missing computer!
I literally went through hell with it all but, I kept my head up. I figured I would try to make sure that I did everything that I could. Maybe I was just being tested or something. I wasn’t sure, but I would be damned if I was going to let me being gay be the reason why I couldn’t be in the Army any longer.
They tried to court marshall me 2 times and failed!
I don’t think that the entire Army is like this. This was all down to my unit level. I know soldiers in other units who did not go through this problem at all. That doesn’t excuse that fact that there were and probably still are units just like mine.
Ok, time to mow the lawn.
Til next time!