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My Letter to the Editor

March 5, 2009

After the controversy around a GW NROTC student being kicked out after the revelation that he was gay, Joshua Hock wrote an appalling op-ed.  Here’s my response that was published today.

What I find saddest about Joshua Hock’s op-ed (“The right decision,” March 2, p. 4) is not the premise that he argues, but rather the way in which the author views himself. This should not be a partisan issue – it’s so much more. This is an issue of self-respect.

Hock is lucky that he has grown up in a world and a culture (wherever he is from) where he could, from a young age, be open about his sexuality. What is so tragic is that he has no sense of what brought us to this moment. Here’s a hint: He walks safely as a gay man on campus because gay men and lesbians did not sit silently by as injustices and hate crimes were perpetrated based on sexuality.

He isn’t discriminated against in housing in D.C. because people weren’t silent about who they live with and love. He will never know the life of our predecessors who were fired for who they loved or, after years of marriage without the title, could not be with their dying partner in their last moments. Few things make me happier than the fact that Hock and I, a GW alumnus, will likely never know these challenges. Few things make me sadder than knowing that people like Hock don’t appreciate the progress the LGBT community has seen over the last 50 years and how it came about.

It was in part because of protests and demonstrations, but it was more because of men and women who bravely lived their lives openly and risked expulsion from jobs, service, families and entire communities. We in the LGBT community owe the rights we have obtained to those who have not lived in shame, but have lived their lives openly as themselves – exactly like Todd Belok and countless individuals before him. We should all strive to do the same. Indeed, I hope that Hock can someday see that living your life openly as yourself is not “parading” your sexuality.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. George Seaver permalink
    March 6, 2009 12:53 am

    important insight well stated.

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