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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 13, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 33
West Point cadet resigns under DADT policy
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West Point cadet resigns under DADT policy

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The discriminatory U.S. military policy 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) does hurt unit readiness and cohesion, but not in the way we have been led to believe. The latest example of why the policy hurts our military and national security can be seen in the case of Katherine Miller.

Miller began the week as the #9-ranked West Point cadet. She ended the week as an out Lesbian who resigned from the world's top military academy, saying she cannot reconcile the military's DADT policy with her desire to live an open and honest life and maintain her integrity.

In her resignation letter to the academy, she wrote:

'I have created a heterosexual dating history to recite to fellow cadets when they inquire. I have endured unwanted approaches by male cadets for fear of being accused as a Lesbian by rejecting these events. I have been coerced into ignoring derogatory comments towards homosexuals for fear of being alienated for my viewpoint.

'In short, I have lied to my classmates and compromised my integrity by adhering to existing military policy.'

The existing policy Miller speaks of is known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell, passed in 1993 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, and has resulted in the abrupt firing of more than 14,000 men and women because of their sexual orientation, and has led tens of thousands more to voluntarily terminate their careers because of the burden of serving under this outdated law. There are an estimated 66,000 Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals currently serving in the U.S. military, and an estimated 1 million Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual veterans of the U.S. armed forces.

"While at the academy, I have made a deliberate effort to develop myself academically, physically, and militarily, but in terms of holistic personal growth, I reached a plateau," Miller wrote in her resignation letter. "I am unwilling to suppress an entire portion of my identity any longer because it has taken a significant personal mental and social toll on me and detrimentally affected my professional development. I have experienced a relentless cognitive dissonance by attempting to adhere to DADT and retain my integrity, and I am retrospectively convinced that I am unable to live up to the Army values as long as the policy remains in place."

Like DADT repeal poster-boy and fellow West Point alumni Dan Choi (recently discharged from military service under DADT), Miller indicated her desire to still serve as an army officer should DADT be removed and LGBT people are allowed to serve openly.

According to Knights Out, a group of LGBT alumni of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Miller will be transferring to Yale University this fall on a Point Foundation Scholarship.

"This is a loss to the Academy and to the Army," said Becky Kanis, West Point '91. Kanis, chair of Knights Out and a former captain and company commander, added, "We keep losing talented people needlessly while we wait for the Pentagon's 'review.'"

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