A Meeting of Friends
That’s what Jeff called it. And it was. We met at the
After our rejection as an official alumni chapter in December, this was our first meeting to determine what our path forward should be, how should we support the Naval Academy, other GLBT alumni, and even GLBT midshipman. We had
I often say that I didn’t go to college. I went to an institution. And it’s true. I don’t think a college can affect you like a service academy. While our discussions were friendly, there was a bit of intensity that encompassed out meeting. One of our members talked about getting kicked out during youngster year. How it impacted her life. It was amazing. But more importantly, she really did epitomize what a
Last year our group helped a midshipman who was kicked out for being gay. He didn’t want to go home because his parents didn’t approve of him being gay. So he stayed with some of our members in the local DC/Annapolis area. He finally did go back home, but now has to work two job, pay rent to his parents, and is trying to get back into college. And this is 2004. I can’t imagine getting kicked out of the
Our group wants to support those Navy officers, and midshipman, who are still in the closet because of DADT. We hope that by being visible, by being out, by showing that others have walked down the same path, by leading by example, that we can work to make the Navy, the Naval Academy, the Naval Academy Alumni Association open to all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It was really empowering to sit in that room with these other GLBT alumni and know that despite all of the challenges and discriminations we may have faced, that we still want to support our school by making it free of discrimination.
The meeting was a huge success. We came up with a good plan to move forward, to engage the alumni association, and how to build and strengthen our organization.
All of this wouldn’t have been possible without Jeff. As the leader of this group, Jeff has taken the fight to the alumni association, he’s talked with the press to gain recognition, and he’s gather over 70 GLBT and straight supporting alumni to help support our cause. Jeff is an amazing person. He has taken this cause to heart and has done a great job forming this group. His dedication, determination, and spirit are inspiring and impossible to measure. And I am so glad that he’s my friend.