Liz Carmouche remembers the fear she had while a U.S. Marine stationed in Iraq in 2006. A fear not only of the enemy outside but of her friends and colleagues inside. Those who made hurtful comments about gays and lesbians, including a close friend who said that if gay soldiers came out they should be put on the front lines and be the first killed. “I was always looking over my shoulder wondering if someone was trying to out me and if I would lose my rank, get kicked out of the military and be dishonorably discharged,” Carmouche said. Carmouche had come out to a fellow military member prior to her six-month tour in Iraq, and while the friend was supportive, others weren’t. It became a game among other Marines to guess who was gay or lesbian, in the hopes of getting them kicked out of the service. While deep in the closet, Carmouche was stationed in San Diego and frequented the gay clubs in the Hillcrest section and briefly dated a woman. Being exposed was always hanging over her.
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