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Pages: At West Point Hidden Gay Cadets Put in Spotlight [1]
Author Topic: At West Point Hidden Gay Cadets Put in Spotlight
blythe

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2011-01-30 8-52-56-

At West Point Hidden Gay Cadets Put in Spotlight WEST POINT, N.Y. — Code words, secret societies, covert meetings, fake identities: these are tools that a certain set of cadets learn here at the United States Military Academy at West Point. These cadets are not spies or moles. They are gay, and they exist largely in the shadows of this granite institution known for producing presidents and generals, where staying closeted is essential to avoid discharge under the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. “The most important thing I’ve learned here is how to be a good actor,” said one gay male cadet, who grew up in Philadelphia and is in his fourth year at the academy. The resignation this month of Katherine Miller, a top cadet who blogged anonymously about her lesbianism, has turned a spotlight on the hidden gay culture here and revived debate on campus about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” at a time when Washington is also focused on the issue. Ms. Miller, who wrote under the name “Private Second Class Citizen” about enduring gay slurs and faking a heterosexual dating history, is transferring to Yale University this fall and has become something of a media celebrity, appearing on “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC and on ABC News. Interviews with three gay cadets, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because revealing their identities could result in expulsion, as well as conversations with Ms. Miller and several gay alumni, painted a portrait of a vibrant, if tiny, gay underground at West Point. The hiding begins on Day 1: new cadets must sign a document acknowledging that revealing one’s homosexuality can lead to discharge, as can demonstrating “a propensity to engage in homosexual acts.”
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