Katherine Miller, a current Yale University student and former West Point cadet was rejected for readmission into The United States Military Academy at West Point last year despite the military working toward repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy.
Miller initially left the academy because she said she was unable to hide her sexuality.
DADT, a policy created under the Clinton administration, was put in place to “protect” those in the armed forces, according to David F. Burelli, specialist in Military Manpower Policy. Although many believe that the actions of the administration were to oppress those in the LGBTQ community, the policy states that it is in the best interest of those serving in the armed forces.
It is said that it “holds that the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in same-sex acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion which are the essence of military capability.” In other words, one is not able to report on their sexual orientation, “for the best of the military.” The action is to not ask anyone of their sexual orientation, and to not report or speak about it, mostly if it involves relations with the same-sex.
“I’ve never understood the policy and how it was supposed to ‘help’ the people serving, and it’s sad that to this day discrimination is still so institutionalized,” said third-year TV radio production and Black Studies major Euclyn Williams.
This past year the Obama administration repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which made it clear that men and women serving in uniform will no longer have to hide their sexual identity according to The New York Times.
After the policy was repealed, Miller reapplied to the United States Military Academy at West Point in the hopes of being able to serve without hiding her sexual identity.
Her effort to return to the academy was rejected due to the fact that DADT would not go into effect until six months after its signing. The DADT policy will go into effect mid-summer.
Many members of the LGBTQ community agree that Miller was strong and respectful in her actions to leave West Point such as President of Queer Action Coalition Joseph Pine.
“I admire Katherine Miller’s original decision to leave. It took courage, and a strong sense of self-awareness,” he said. “She was unable to take the battle for personal liberties to other countries, and instead chose to fight for personal liberties on a domestic level. She left partially as a statement that even the best cadets could be LGBTQ identified, and was unwilling to adhere to hetero-normative hegemony.”
Based on the comments by Pine and others in the LGBTQ community, support is going out for those such as Miller who are willing to sacrifice their position in the armed forces for the sake of their sexual identity/orientation.
“While I understand that the military must follow the DADT repeal timeline, it is still disappointing,” said Pine. “Remember that the DADT repeal has not yet been put into effect; it still functions in the military for an unspecified time as the US government works out its timeline for full repeal. I do find it disappointing; however, that our prime military academy is not spearheading this throwing caution to the wind, as it were, and readmitting to give a final push in the process of creating said timeline.”