Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 23, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 38
Navy clears Gay WWII vet's record
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Navy clears Gay WWII vet's record

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Nearly 70 years after kicking out Melvin Dwork for being Gay, the U.S. Navy is changing his discharge from 'undesirable' to 'honorable,' marking what is believed to be the first time the Pentagon has taken such a step on behalf of a World War II veteran since the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT).

The Navy notified Dwork, 89, a former corpsman, last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial.

Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record.

'I resented that word 'undesirable,' Dwork, who was discharged in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York, told the Associated Press. 'That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It's really worse than 'dishonorable.' I think it was the worst word they could have used.'

Victory, however, came with a heartbreaking truth. Dwork learned last year, when the Navy finally released his records, that his name had been given to military officials by his boyfriend at the time.

Dwork said he does not blame his former boyfriend; he said the young man was pressured into giving up names as part of a 'witch hunt.'

'It was confusing to me that anything like that could happen,' Dwork said. 'I wasn't ashamed of what I was or what I am. It was just a sad period. I didn't know frankly at that point it would affect the rest of my life.'

The decision to amend his discharge papers was made by the Board for Corrections of Naval Records in Washington in its August 17 proceedings. The board noted that the Navy has undergone a 'radical departure' from the outright ban on Gays that was in place in 1944. The board pointed out Dwork's 'exemplary period of active duty' and said that changing the terms of his discharge was done 'in the interest of justice.'

Due to his early departure from military service, Dwork was not allowed to draw GI benefits to continue his studies as a young man and was denied medical care in his later years. He said he needs a hearing aid that he cannot afford.

Over the years, he filed countless requests with the Navy, traveled to Washington, lobbied lawmakers, and hired a law firm to help.

The Board for Corrections of Naval Records said it would reinstate Dwork's benefits retroactively, but exactly what that means - whether, for example, the Navy will write him a check for the benefits he missed out on over a lifetime - is unclear.

'I think that with the end of DADT there is a growing realization within the military that not only Gays be allowed to serve openly now but this was probably the wrong policy all along,' said Aaron Belkin, an expert on Gays in the U.S. military at the University of California, Los Angeles. 'This illustrates, at least in the case of one person, that the military is trying to set things right.'

About 100,000 troops were discharged between World War II and 1993 for being Gay and lost their benefits as a result, Belkin said. Under the more relaxed DADT policy, which allowed LGB persons to serve as long as they kept their sexual orientation to themselves, nearly 14,000 troops were forced out, but most were given honorable discharges that allowed them to draw benefits.

The official repeal of DADT took effect Tuesday.

Congress voted last year to repeal the law and dozens of Gay veterans who were given undesirable, dishonorable, or less-than-honorable discharges before 1993 stepped forward, seeking to have the blemish removed from their records.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Obama issues statement on repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
------------------------------
OUTLoud fights against high LGBT teen suicide rates
------------------------------
President Obama to deliver keynote address at HRC National Dinner
------------------------------
ACLU goes to court for equal military separation pay
------------------------------
General Gayety: Matchmaker, find me a find (or don't!)
------------------------------
Navy clears Gay WWII vet's record
------------------------------
Brian Scott Fairbrother, 1960-2011
------------------------------
Sen. Kerry introduces LGBT fair housing bill
Sen. Patty Murray signs on as cosponsor

------------------------------
Man charged with hate crime in Pike Street assault
------------------------------
Alaska judge OKs tax breaks for same-sex couples
------------------------------
Social Security Administration ends 'Gender No-Match' letters
White House 'welcomes this move'

------------------------------
Gamers map structure of protease
------------------------------
HIV-positive men of color not using meds, study says
------------------------------
Mumbai police raid Gay party, arrest 133
------------------------------
Marriage equality in U.K. by 2015, government says
------------------------------
Mainstream Christians must stand up to the religious Right
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
White House advisor praises DADT repeal
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
NCLR Responds to Execution of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia
------------------------------
Census Bureau Releases Estimates of Same-Sex Married Couples
------------------------------
Rights Collide as Town Clerk Sidesteps Role in Gay Marriages
------------------------------
'Flying while lesbian,' SW's new excuse for kicking Leisha Hailey off flight: She didn't submit
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News