More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Lesbian Former Cadet Katie Miller Rejected from West Point, Does Not Plan to Return
The former West Point cadet Katie Miller was rejected for re-admission to the prestigious academy on Wednesday as a result of the lingering ban on openly LGBT service members. She has subsequently decided to abandon her dream of returning to the institution, and remain at Yale University instead.
Katie gained national attention when she resigned from West Point last August and became a public advocate of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the discriminatory law that prevented lesbian, gay, and bisexual members of the military from coming out. She felt that keeping her orientation a secret violated the academy’s honor code and did not sit well with her conscience, and chose to leave right before the beginning of her junior year. She reapplied to West Point after President Obama overturned the law in December 2010, but learned earlier this month that she was not accepted because the repeal has yet to be implemented. "Although I am deeply saddened that I will not be readmitted to West Point, I understand and respect the decision," she commented on Wednesday. “I harbor no resentment toward the military, and I look forward to the day they deem it appropriate for me to put the uniform back on.” She ranked ninth in her class at the time of her departure from West Point.
Katie is now attending Yale University and has excelled there as well. She was recently awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship for her activism on behalf of LGBT service members, which includes her service as a spokesperson for OutServe, an underground organization of thousands of LGBT personnel. The scholarship is given to students based on their leadership, academic excellence, and commitment to public service or the nonprofit sector. Katie plans to pursue a Master of Public Administration after graduation. She wants to eventually join the Department of Defense as a civilian and help shape general military personnel policies.
Katie’s story highlights the ongoing struggles among lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens who are eager to serve their country. Although DADT repeal was positive news, the slow process of implementation continues to be a source of stress for those who could get kicked out for simply being who they are. Training for the law’s repeal began around March 1 and is expected to be completed by late summer. GLAAD will continue to monitor coverage of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and will advocate for voices like Katie’s to be heard.