Category: discrimination

Gay Harassment in Mississippi Restaurant; Cop Sues For Discrimination

Gay Harassment in Mississippi Restaurant

A gay couple went into a Mexican eatery in Mississippi, kissed, and wound up getting harassed. But this didn’t happen at random.

It was one of those ABC news shows called “What Would You do?” The person who harassed them was really an actress, and the point was to see how others in the restaurant would react.

One table of young women, for example, take videos, laugh and point as if the gay couple were circus freaks.

What’s interesting is that the point was raised that no one wants to see any couple “making out” in a restaurant, gay or straight. But when the show did the same experiment with a young straight couple making out no one harassed them and most even came to their defense.

The biggest argument against the gay couple kissing seemed to be religious/bible oriented. And “The Lord” was mentioned more than once.

You can see the video clip here.

The end is actually very moving. Two straight guys come to the defense of the gay guys, and one is so livid he wants to eat the religious bigots for dinner.

Cop Sues for Discrimination

A gay ex-cop with British Met Police is now suing for alleged discrimination. It gets very complicated. He’s not only suing for gay discrimination, but also race. The comments this guy makes are spot on, too.

He’s claiming other officers said he should be a hairdresser instead of a cop, or on the cabin crew. He was also told  Scotland Yard allegedly monitors cops on Grindr.

 Back in 2009, Maxwell was diagnosed with depression after experiencing racism and homophobia in the force.

A year later, he claims The Sun newspaper paid for his private data and threatened to publish a false story about him as he had raised discrimination within Scotland Yard.

I find this interesting because I know a straight state trooper going through something similar. In his case a female employee claims she found him on a hook up site for straight people that’s similar to Grindr. It’s almost an identical story, from the depression to the lawsuit…except for the fact that this guy isn’t gay. His case is still ongoing.

I also know other cops and they’ve always told me one of THE most important things about being a cop is to be as careful, as clean, and as above reproach as possible, especially those who are career cops. These cops that I know (some gay) are not free to act and behave like people in the private sector because their jobs and lives depend on it. Most are actually paranoid. So I hope they do a follow up on this situation. I’m curious to see what unfolds.

You can read more here.

Gay Parents Flee Russia; Gay Russian Teens; Growing up Gay in Russia

Gay Parents Flee Russia

The things that are happening right now in Russia to LGBT people aren’t getting any better. The article to which I’m linking puts many things into perspective with LGBT people who have children. We’re fighting for marriage and that hasn’t been simple, but they’re fighting for their lives.

Two things happened to me the same month: I was beaten up in front of parliament for the first time and I realised that in all my interactions, including professional ones, I no longer felt I was perceived as a journalist first: I am now a person with a pink triangle.

My family is moving to New York. We have the money and documents needed to do that with relative ease – unlike thousands of other LGBT families and individuals in Russia.

But what is happening to all gays in Russia is just as bad, and we all need to pay more attention to this and start talking about it.

Gay Russian Teens

This is even worse. And it shows the magnitude of how gays in Russia can’t be open about themselves and why they have to remain in the closet. 

Only one person knew that Svetlana was gay when she wrote to Deti-404, a Russian support group for lesbian teenagers. In her letter, the 16-year-old described a life of hiding her sexuality in a small town in central Russia where a man had been killed for being a homosexual. “I am scared that they will find out about me and lynch me. Sometimes I want to cry out: ‘Accept me for who I am! Or at least be tolerant of me’,” she wrote.

It’s an emotional article that reads a lot like a WWII history book about Nazi Germany.

Born Gay in Russia

According to this article dated 8/9/13, President Obama doesn’t think we should call for a boycott with the Olympics in Russia just because of the anti-gay laws. I wonder how he would react if they began to enforce anti-African descent laws just like the anti-gay laws in Russia. It shouldn’t really make a difference and I’m just throwing out that analogy for the sake of argument. All discrimination of any kind is despicable, especially when it involves the kind of suppression going on in Russia right now with gays. But this is basically what the President said:

US President Barack Obama said on Friday he did not consider it “appropriate” to boycott the Winter Olympics over the gay rights issue.

Instead he hoped gay and lesbian athletes would do well at the games.

“One of the things I’m really looking forward to is maybe some gay and lesbian athletes bringing home the gold or silver or bronze, which would, I think, go a long way in rejecting the kind of attitudes that we’re seeing there,” he said.

This article goes into more detail about Obama’s stand on this issue…if you could actually call it a stand.

This doesn’t surprise me. Most world leaders ignored what happened in Nazi Germany before WWII, and they waited until it was far too late. What does surprise me is that Obama would be so cautious about this issue when so many LGBT American helped get him into office. In other words, if every single gay American had supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2008, like I did, we would have had the first woman President in the history of the US. Of course I don’t know how Hillary would have reacted to what’s happening in Russia right now. But it’s pointless to speculate on that because Obama is the President and she’s not.

This is what it’s like to be born gay in Russia,and grow up gay there:

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact day when I felt a shift in my consciousness, the realization that I did not want to spend the rest of my life in that country, in that culture. The closest to such an event was a history lesson on the Holocaust. When my teacher brought up Nazi camps, students started to heckle her, saying things like, “Hitler should have finished the job.” Before I knew it, the entire class was chanting, “Kill kikes!” and pounding their fists on their desks. I stared at them, terrified. Adidas track suits, leather jackets, and gold crosses had replaced the Communist uniforms, but the other kids still had the same glassy look in their eyes, the same frenzied anger, and the same impulse to be a monolithic, unquestioning lynch mob.

I mentioned Nazi Germany earlier in this post. I had not read this particular article yet.

Emotional Weekend: Cory Monteith; Trayvon Martin; Gay Racism

This weekend I haven’t had time to post much because I’ve been out of the office, but two very significant events happened yesterday that I’ve been thinking about all day today. Although both events are totally unrelated, two young men who had families and loved ones were taken away from this earth far too early, and we’ll never again get to experience the talents Cory Monteith had to share, or the talents Trayvon Martin might have had to share with the world. From what I’ve seen on social media this weekend, both Cory and Trayvon left an emotional impact on many people. More than I think either one of them ever would have realized. I read one facebook update about Trayvon Martin by an author last night that I know truly came from her heart.

But I have always promised that I would never discuss politics, religion, or hot topic issues on this blog, and I’m not going to comment any further on Trayvon Martin. This post is about the tragedy itself, it’s not a political rant where I’m going to scream and shout who was right and who was wrong. In this respect, I agree with the statement President Obama issued:

President Obama called the death of Trayvon Martin a tragedy on Sunday. But after a verdict that sparked charged reactions nationwide, he urged Americans to focus on “calm reflection.”

I’m nobody special. I’m just a small genre author who tries to entertain people as best I can, and I never expect to make billions of dollars or have large publishers knock on my door. But I also don’t believe that any form of violence or discrimination has ever resulted in something positive, and to remain completely silent isn’t right either.

I once read a comment that went like this, paraphrased, “Don’t get into any online flame wars unless you’re willing to go up on that hill and die.” I wish I had been clever enough to come up with that one first. This advice works wonders, however, we all have something in our lives for which we would be willing to go up on that hill and die. And I do understand the emotional outcries that have happened all weekend for Trayvon Martin. For me, I would be willing to go up on that hill and die for anything that involves an LGBT issue, that brand of LGBT discrimination, and the form of racism/abuse gay men and women experience.

Just like any other gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, or queer person in the US, I experience various forms of discrimination and gay racism all the time. Sometimes it’s more obvious, sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it comes in the form of assumption. By assumption I mean that people who aren’t gay decide to tell me what it’s like to be gay, as if they know better and that my personal experiences as a gay man mean absolutely nothing to them. One good example I can give deals with a few books I’ve written that have movie tie-in themes. All of the books are my brand of parody, and I’ve posted about this openly so many times I’m just going to link because I would only be repeating myself if I did it again. In other words, my parodies were not taken from bestselling books like Twilight and turned into multi-million dollar bestsellers by big crafty publishers like some books I won’t mention right now. And my books were never taken from gay films with gay content like Brokeback Mountain, or other gay movies, also like some books I won’t mention right now.

When I was growing up there was nothing with gay content at all in the mainstream. For a gay person who liked romance of any kind there were films like Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman and we made due with what we had because we didn’t have any choices. “They” gave us no choices. And to this day, I’m in my early forties and I still don’t see many gay romances in the mainstream for the entire community to watch. I post about gay films all the time that are trying to get funded through kickstarter. And just look at how many studios turned down the Liberace story. They had to go to HBO. When I was growing up, the majority of the LGBT books released were hard to find if you didn’t live near a small indie bookshop (most of us didn’t), so we didn’t get a chance to read LGBT romances either. I grew up completely void of any romance with even a hint of gay content. And the very few romances out there that had minor gay characters almost always ended up in suicide.

So I not only wanted to tackle a few age old storylines with my books, like Pretty Man with the Cinderella trope in the film Pretty Woman, but also make them lighter, a little humorous, and give them the strong erotic scenes I always thought would add to the parody. I didn’t want it to be a bitter political statement, but I did want to make a statement I thought was important…and still do think is important. But what was intended to be fun and satirical has often turned into a brand of gay racism that I’ve experienced all my life. This is something that someone once said about a parody I wrote:

This isn’t humorous or satirical. Good parodies are clearly commenting on the original author or a touchy current political event in a satirical way, et cetera. In fact, the US Supreme Court ruled that a parody is “the use of some elements of a prior author’s composition to create a new one that, at least in part, comments on that author’s work”. This doesn’t seem to be clearly commenting on anything.

That was left by someone who didn’t think one of my books with movie tie-ins was satirical or a parody, which leads me to believe they don’t know much about what it’s like to be gay in America and face discrimination all the time. Or what it was like to grow up in America thirty years ago. I don’t mind people who disagree with me or what I write, and I respect everyone’s opinion completely. However, as a gay man, and as a gay man who has experienced the kind of blunt dismissal almost all gay people have experienced, I happen to think that my social comment by writing gay parodies on straight romances was not only touching on current political events (gay marriage for one), but also past political events that involved the LGBT community long before the term LGBT even originated (the fact that gay men were so closeted and hidden in Take Me Always). And once again, to dismiss me in such a way, and to question my motives as a gay man who has experienced this discrimination first hand is something that bothers me enough to go up on that hill and die.

The list of books I’ve written that parody straight romance movies isn’t that long, at least not compared to books and stories I’ve written that didn’t parody anything. I didn’t want to make this movie thing a career goal, but in the same respect I wanted to make my own political statement by writing those books and telling the mainstream writers and producers that we’re here, too, and that we deserve a movie or book like Pretty Man or An Officer and Gentleman sometimes. They don’t even throw us that proverbial bone unless there’s something highly sensational about the story.

I know some people get what I did, and I thank them an I truly appreciate them for getting it because it validates me as a gay person (not just a gay man: I think we’re all part of the LGBT) who is still surviving inequality just by living in the Commonwealth of PA where gay marriage is not legal. They also know that I never tried to hide the fact that my books were my brand of parody…for a gay audience or for those straight men and women who like to read gay erotic romance. Gay racism, just like ethnic racism, religious racism, and rape culture, does in fact exist all over the world, not just in the US. Sometimes it comes in the form of slamming gay people, sometimes it comes by dismissing them and ignoring them, and sometimes it even comes about by telling them that they are wrong and what they’ve experienced as gay people doesn’t matter.

But I know deep down that anyone else who is gay out there knows what I’m talking about. You know how excited you were when you first watched that Harvey Milk documentary in PBS many years ago, or when you saw a minor gay character in a movie when you didn’t expect it…even if he or she jumped off a bridge in the end. Or how excited you were when Will and Grace came on TV in the 90’s. And you were excited for one reason: you had nothing else with which to identity in the mainstream. The feedback I’ve received from younger gay men and gay men of all ages with the movie tie-in books has been phenomenal. They understood the parody and they even identified with the characters in the books. And that’s the most important thing, and the most cherished thing any writer can expect. It makes the gay racism easier to deal with for those who don’t get it, or are unwilling to acknowledge it.

So this past weekend was very emotional for a lot of people, especially in the LGBT community with the loss of Cory Monteith. Monteith was part of a TV show that broke ground for the LGBT community, even for those who didn’t like the show as much as others. He was, in many ways, the ultimate hero at times on the show. At least he was for me. I don’t watch Glee religiously, but Monteith was one of the main reasons I did watch.

The magnitude of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin has been felt ten times over each time something related to his death has happened in the past year or so. And the most recent event was the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. I’ve seen such hurt and such disappointment it’s hard to write this post. As I stated earlier, one woman author I know wrote something so eloquent I felt a sting in my eye without even realizing it. And I’m so used to racism and discrimination that doesn’t happen often for me.

We have race issues of all kinds in the US. I’m not going to get into other parts of the world because I’m not familiar with them. But we have to continue to work on things here in the US in order to move forward and to make things better for kids of all ethnic backgrounds, including LGBT kids. And once again, I’m going with the President on this one, and I’m not coming from a political place right now. This is coming from the heart:

 We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.

A blogging author I follow who is a straight white male wrote a middle grade book that I read and loved. He recently posted about his book, which included a mixed-race character, and how he thinks we need more mixed race characters in YA and middle grade books. After that one post, he lost more blog followers in one day than he’d ever lost before.

TV Show "The New Normal" So Accurate It Reminded Me of Something That Happened to Us

For those who don’t know, there’s a TV show in the US this fall that revolves around the lives to two gay men…a “married” gay couple who seem to be in their thirties or forties. I’ve posted here about the show before.

I think last night’s episode was only the second to air. I enjoyed the accuracy of the first show and was hoping for something similar for the second. I wasn’t disappointed. The two gay men are in the process of having a baby and they’re going through all the emotions all married couples experience when they have babies. In one scene they go shopping to some sort of low end discount store and they wind up looking at baby clothes. They encounter a straight couple with a child and the straight man not only bashes them in public for kissing in the store in front of his child, but he then goes on to rip them to shreds for wanting to raise a child of their own.

It was as ugly as hate gets. It was something most gay men can relate to at least once in their lives. And what was even worse was that the gay couple just stood there and took it without fighting back. One of them made a few comments, but he knew he couldn’t win. The scenes that followed this scene when they went home were even more intense. It showed how gay couples are treated, with the kind of accuracy that I can back up from my own personal experiences.

When Tony and I met in l992, Tony had just bought a town house in a cookie cutter sub-division in Newtown, PA. Newtown is a nice upscale suburban community with excellent schools, shopping centers, and parks. The moms are blond and drive mini-vans; the dads play golf and drive mid-size American company cars. It’s a suburb of Philadelphia and it’s also located about eight miles south of New Hope, PA, where we live now. But that eight miles could be a million miles in more than one respect.

I wasn’t thrilled about living in Newtown for many reasons. But I didn’t have much of a choice. Tony had purchased the house exactly two days before we met and the deal was done. And I liked him and I wasn’t going to let a town stop me from getting to know him better. I also had a gallery in New Hope, which was only eight miles away, and I spent most of my time at the gallery, seven days a week.

For those who have never lived in a cookie cutter town house sub-division, it’s not always like you see it on TV. For the most part, no one really ever gets to know each other. You see people coming and going to and from work and that’s about it. And because most of our friends were from New Hope, not Newtown, we didn’t get to know anyone on that street for the seven years we lived there. At best it was a wave in the morning if you ran into someone leaving at the same time you were leaving.

And during those seven years we never thought much about being different from the straight people who lived on that street. We were so busy back then with work and travel we barely had time for a social life. And the social life we did have consisted of friends I’d met in New Hope at the gallery. And, like I said, if you were to drive down that cul-de-sac at any time of the day or night, you’d never guess anyone actually lived there because you never saw people outside for more than a few minutes at a time.

One cold day in December of l998 while I was hanging a huge wreath on the door for Christmas and Tony was outside near the garage, our next door neighbor was outside with his eight year old son putting up lights. I’d nodded hello earlier and went back to hanging the wreath. I didn’t give it a second thought.

After I hung the wreath, I went to the front section of the small piece of property and started to clean up a few leaves left over from fall clean up (in town house communities like this you get letters from the HOA if everything’s not perfect). While I was doing this, Tony was only a few feet away doing something with a snow blower he’d just purchased. Looking back, it all seems so Norman Rockwell it’s hard to believe we actually lived there.

But then something happened that changed the way I looked at that town house community forever. The straight guy next door told his kid to do something and the kid didn’t want to do it. So he looked up at his father on a ladder and said, “I don’t want to put up Christmas lights. Why can’t we just put up a wreath like the fags next door.” This was verbatim, from an eight year old. And the only place an eight year old hears that kind of language is from his parents.

Tony and I exchanged glances at the same time and just stood there with our mouths hanging open. The straight guy climbed down the ladder, grabbed his kid, and yanked him into the house without saying a word. Not an apology…nothing.

That same night I said to Tony, “It’s time to move. We’ve been here seven years, we’ve never fit in, and what happened today is the end for me. We either move to New Hope, where I work and have friends and it’s tolerant and gay friendly, or we move to New York or Philadelphia and live in the city. But I’ve had it with sub-divisions and middle management town house communities.”

We listed the town house that week, I took down the wreath and started packing, and we were out of there by April of l999. And I have never missed that place once since we left. Moving those eight miles to New Hope, where there’s culture, theater, and tolerance not only changed our lives, it improved them. And even though things have changed a lot since 1999, they haven’t changed all that much and I wouldn’t move back to a sub-division if my life depended on it.

I hope that “The New Normal” keeps doing what it’s doing. It showed that these things do happen to gay people all the time…which is why we live in places like New Hope, not Newtown. I hope the writers and producers continue to discuss the things that affect gay couples in a realistic way, unlike other TV shows with gay characters before them. What happened to Tony and I was not as dramatic as what happened to the couple on “The New Normal,” but hate is hate, and when it comes from the mouth of a child it’s even worse because you know that child had to learn it somewhere.

RWA, RWI: "No Same-Sex Entries" in MTM

Evidently, MTM is not taking same-sex entries anymore. It’s stated right here in the rules and regulations on the RWI page, in bold black letters: Note: MTM will no longer accept same-sex entries in any category.

For those who don’t know, MTM is the More than Magic contest. The More than Magic contest is conducted by RWI, which is a chapter of RWA. RWI means Romance Writers Ink. I think we all know what RWA is by now.

Frankly, I knew nothing about this until I read about it here, in this very eloquent blog post, which was posted by someone I don’t know, Heidi Cullinan. Before I write anything else I’d like to thank Heidi for being so kind and so honest.

Heidi nails it with these lines alone:

I just can’t get over the balls of stating, right there in black and white on a freaking website, “no same-sex entries.” No Irish need apply. Whites only. Pick your discriminatory phrase and insert it right there, because they all fit.

She brings a huge reality check to all writers of M/M Romance with this:

Here’s the truth. LGBT romance is growing more and more every day, but don’t let anyone try and delude you it’s anywhere but at the more sunlit alleys in the ghetto of the publishing world. Despite our very good sales within our digital-first houses, we aren’t even on the map for most New York publishers.

Part of the reason I didn’t find out about this until now is because I don’t belong to RWA, nor do I follow any contests or anyone affiliated with RWA. I’ve been writing (and getting published) for over twenty years, without the help of RWA, RWI, or MTM. I don’t think my m/m romance readers care about RWA. I’m not being snide about this; I just know where I’m not welcome and I’m being realistic. As an openly gay man I’ve suffered far worse than this. Until now I’ve never seen it posted on a web site, in actual words and letters, for the entire world to see.

In the grand scheme of my life, this doesn’t bother me too much. It won’t touch the quality of my life, nor will it stop me from writing as many m/m romances as I want to write. I doubt it will touch the quality of my readers lives much either. Those who love to read M/M Romance, which is growing daily in numbers, probably don’t even know what RWA is.

In the end of Heidi’s post, which I recommend reading in its entirety, she says this:

Are you an author of LGBT romances? Are you a reader of them? Are you an advocate of LGBT rights? Please write to RWI’s contest coordinator ( Please write to RWA. Please don’t yell and throw glass. You can be hurt, but please be civil. One little pebble thrown becomes an excuse to call us the bullies. And you know? I don’t even think RWA or RWI are the bullies. I think they’re not thinking. I think they’re thinking of themselves and keeping things quiet and easy. I think they don’t think for one second saying “no gays” is the same as hanging “whites only” over a toilet.

If you are so inclined, by all means send out an e-mail to the address above in protest.

I have to think about this for a while. I’m not as kind as Heidi and I have zero tolerance for this. And I have no inclination to deal with people who would post something that offensive, in public, without thinking twice about it. I’d rather dismiss them completely, as being thoughtless, unkind, and irrelevant. I think most people would feel the same way if they were gay and they were treated this way by people who aren’t significant enough to waste time on. Sometimes total dismissal works best.

No Benefits for Gay Couples in the Military


No benefits for gay couples in the military. And even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I always am. The emotional/psychological aspects are bad enough. But a lot of people don’t realize the financial limitations of being a gay couple.

Read this article below for more info. It’s well written and far more detailed (and less emotional) than I would be.

(San Diego) – Gay service members from Army soldiers to Air Force officers are planning to celebrate the official end of the military’s 17-year policy that forced them to hide their sexual orientation with another official act – marriage.

A 27-year-old Air Force officer from Ohio said he can’t wait to wed his partner of two years and slip on a ring that he won’t have to take off or lie about when he goes to work each day once “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed. He plans to wed his boyfriend, a federal employee, in Washington D.C. where same-sex marriages are legal.

He asked not to be identified, following the advice of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a national organization representing gay troops, including the Air Force officer, that has cautioned those on active duty from coming out until the ban is off the books.

“I owe it to him and myself,” the officer said of getting married. “I don’t want to do it in the dark. I think that taints what it’s supposed to be about – which is us, our families, and our government.”

But in the eyes of the military the marriage will not be recognized and the couple will still be denied most of the benefits the Defense Department gives to heterosexual couples to ease the costs of medical care, travel, housing and other living expenses.

The Pentagon says the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act – which defines marriage for federal program purposes as a legal union between a man and woman – prohibits the Defense Department from extending those benefits to gay couples, even if they are married legally in certain states.

That means housing allowances and off-base living space for gay service members with partners could be decided as if they were living alone. Base transfers would not take into account their spouses. If two gay service members are married to each other they may be transferred to two different states or regions of the world. For heterosexual couples, the military tries to keep that from happening.

Gay activists and even some commanders say the discrepancy will create a two-tier system in an institution built on uniformity.

“It’s not going to work,” said Army Reserve Capt. R. Clarke Cooper, who heads up the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group that sued the Justice Department to stop the enforcement of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “Taking care of our soldiers is necessary to ensure morale and unit cohesion. This creates a glaring stratification in the disbursement of support services and benefits.”

Cooper said he also plans to marry his boyfriend, a former Navy officer, in a post-repeal era.

The Obama administration has said it believes the ban could be fully lifted within weeks. A federal appeals court ruling July 6 ordered the government to immediately cease its enforcement. After the Department of Justice filed an emergency motion asking the court to reconsider its order, the court on Friday reinstated the law but with a caveat that prevents the government from investigating or penalizing anyone who is openly gay.

The Justice Department in its motion argued ending the ban abruptly now would pre-empt the “orderly process” for rolling back the policy as outlined in the law passed and signed by the president in December.

The military’s staunchly traditional, tight-knit society, meanwhile, has been quickly adapting to the social revolution: Many gay officers say they have already come out to their commanders and fellow troops, and now discuss their weekend plans without a worry.

The Air Force officer says he has dropped the code words “Red Solo Cups” – the red plastic cups used at parties – that he slipped into conversations for years to tell his partner he loved him when troops were within earshot. He now feels comfortable saying “I love you” on the phone, no longer fearful he will be interrogated by peers.

One male soldier, who also asked not to be identified, said after Congress approved repealing the law, he listed his boyfriend on his Army forms as his emergency contact and primary beneficiary of his military life insurance in case he dies in Afghanistan.

He said when he was transferred to South Korea, he and his partner had to pay for his partner’s move.

“But we were able to stay together,” the soldier wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press from Afghanistan. “During the move, I realized I needed to make sure my partner in life was taken care of if something, the worst, ever happened to me, especially knowing I was about to deploy.”

The soldier said when he added his boyfriend’s name to the paperwork as a primary beneficiary and identified him as a friend, the non-commissioned officer in charge shut his office door and told him: “Unlike the inherent benefits to being married in the Army, such as housing and sustenance allowances, our life insurance and will don’t discriminate.”

Same-sex partners can be listed as the person to be notified in case a service member is killed, injured, or missing, but current regulations prevent anyone other than immediate family – not same-sex spouses – from learning the details of the death. Same-sex spouses also will not be eligible for travel allowances to attend repatriation ceremonies if their military spouses are killed in action.

Gay spouses also will be denied military ID cards. That means they will not be allowed on bases unless they are accompanied by a service member and they cannot shop at commissaries or exchanges that have reduced prices for groceries and clothing, nor can they be treated at military medical facilities. They also will be excluded from base programs providing recreation and other such kinds of support.

Military officials say some hardship cases may be handled on an individual basis. Activists warn such an approach will create an administrative nightmare and leave the military vulnerable to accusations of making inconsistent decisions that favor some and not others.

Military families enjoy assistance from the Defense Department to compensate for the hardship of having a mother or father or both deployed to war zones and moved frequently.

“It strains a relationship when you’re gone for over a year,” said Navy medical corpsman Andrew James, 27, who lived two years apart from his same-sex partner, who could not afford to move with him when he was transferred from San Diego to Washington. “But straight couples have support so their spouses are able to be taken care of, with financial issues, and also they are able to talk to the chain of command, whereas gays can’t. They don’t have any support at all financially or emotionally, and that is really devastating.”

He said he was lucky that his relationship survived and now that he is in the Reserves, they are together again in San Diego.

The benefits issue came up repeatedly during training sessions to prepare troops for the policy change.

“There are inconsistencies,” Maj. Daryl Desimone told a class of Marines at Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego, after being asked about benefits for gay military personnel. “Anyone who looks at it logically will see there are some things that need to be worked out in the future.”

The military’s policy denying benefits to same-sex couples could change if legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act prove successful. The Obama administration has said it will not defend DOMA in court.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department filed a legal brief in federal court in San Francisco in support of a lesbian federal employee’s lawsuit claiming the government wrongly denied health coverage to her same-sex spouse. The brief said the lawsuit should not be dismissed because DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and was motivated by hostility toward gays and lesbians.

Repeal of DADT: End of an Era

Today, in a 65-31 vote, the Senate ended the ban of gays and lesbians in the military. In my latest book, which hasn’t even been released yet, I focused on a theme that revolved around DADT and gays in the military, and kept thinking all the way through the book whether or not I’d see a repeal in my lifetime. It didn’t look good for a long time. It’s still almost too good to be true and I’m almost waiting for some kind of a catch…like what happened with Proposition 8 in California.

But for now DADT has been repealed, and it looks like it’s going to stick, ending one of the most discriminatory laws this country has ever seen.

For more information, Andrea Stone has written a full piece, here.