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Great interview with gay soldier

Kyle Lawson, the gay Army Private who was attacked by a soldier after being inadvertently outed at a party with fellow members of the 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, is interviewed over at Queerty.com. After the his orientation was revealed, Lawson was attacked by a fellow soldier, his nose broken, and received multiple threats. Another soldier assaulted Lawson with a knife. Since the incidents, Lawson has been honorably discharged and the assailants have received light punishment. A snippet:

Tell us how the soldier who attacked you was punished. What is his current status?
Loss of Phase and extra duty, which means he can’t hang with his friends on the weekend. He must instead work on post – not even a slap on the wrist.

Your attacker said you provoked the assault by making sexually suggestive remarks? True? If not, what exactly sparked it?
This is a typical response when gays are assaulted. Someone has to answer to the military. Look at the case of Private First Class Barry Winchell. When the guilty soldiers had to answer to their chain of command they used the “he was hitting on me” defense.

We were talking about a girl he had the hots for and I was telling him to go for it. He’d found out earlier that I was gay he told me to get the f**** away from him so I walked over to a group of friends. I was extremely upset, asking what his problem was. He came walking up behind me grabbing me by that shoulder and said “Get the f*** out c*** sucker. I told him to back off and I turned away from him. He grabbed me by the shoulder and said “don’t ignore me you f**** queer.” He then punched me in the face and I fell to the floor.

What was it like for you to be confronted with a knife after the first attack? Was that when you realized you needed to leave the military for fear of your own safety?

Before I was attacked the first time I went to my command and asked if my sexuality would be a problem because I was being harassed and thought something should be done. They assured me that my being gay had nothing to do with being a soldier and I would be perfectly fine as long as I kept it to myself. The same weekend I was attacked, I was moved to another unit where everyone knew why my nose was broken. Everyone there was very accepting of my being in the military and gay. They really didn’t care. Only one person had a problem with my being gay. One day I was in the barracks hanging out and he came up to me, pulled a knife on me and said if I didn’t get out of his barracks he was going to cut me up. I just let it roll off thinking he was just an idiot trying to act bad. He continued making remarks to other soldiers saying he wanted to see me cut up into little pieces. He would even cut his arm saying the blood on the floor was my blood and he couldn’t wait to see more all over (freak maybe he shouldn’t be in the army). So once I heard this I went to my commanded and requested a discharge.

Thanks to Blender Adam for the pointer.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding