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Out October: My Journey To Lesbianhood: I Came Out Twice

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Editor’s note:

This is the second in our month-long series, “The Out October Project,” designed to “help bring realization into people’s lives that there are others out there,” and that, “there is hope in numbers, there is strength in support.” You can see all the stories here.

Today’s story is by Tanya Domi, a former Army Captain who served for fifteen years and was
honorably discharged in 1990.  During her career, she survived the Ft. Deven’s witchhunt (1974-1975) and later was investigated as a Captain.  She works at Columbia University in New York City and lives with her partner Deborah Kasner and Bailey, her golden retriever.

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, an enclave of intolerance for any difference, but especially so during the 1960s and 1970s.

When one grows up in an oppressive environment, you are either subsumed into that intolerance—collapsed into espousing it actively or by complicity in active silence—or you push back and resist and become an “outlaw,” which I became, although, even as a teen I was respected by many peers for my vocal advocacy of equality for African Americans and women.

It took a long time for me to figure out I was a lesbian. I think my journey began in the fifth grade when I played basketball and softball in an Indianapolis city parks program. I was totally enthralled with my coach—Lynda, who I will never forget—and did everything imaginable to secure her attention and obtain her approval. She was a great basketball player and an even better fast pitch softball player. Here was this strong woman, who was self-possessed and was distinctly identified in the world for her athletic prowess, not through marriage. Her existence opened up my world to other possibilities that were not espoused for women in the 1960s. One of my sweetest memories is sitting next to Lynda on the bench and smelling her, as she wore “Tabu,” one of the popular fragrances of that era.

If I had “grown” out of my crush on Lynda, it would have been dismissed as a phase, but I never grew up or out of it. Looking back, I now know that Lynda was my first crush on a woman.

At the beginning of my sophomore year in college I became aware that I was on the horns of self-discovery—something was different for me—it was clear to me that I was not interested in men. I became aware that Karen, the resident assistant on my floor at Indiana University, was in a very close relationship with a woman. I became envious of their intimacy and finally realized that I really wanted a similar kind of relationship. And yet, I had not become conscious of my sexual feelings for women. A passing caress by one of IU swimmers toward me during a study session so frightened me that I ran out of her room, never discussing it again. I loved the feeling of her touch, but I ran away because of its unfamiliarity and taboo. If I wanted her touch, what would that make me? I could not go there just yet.

By the time I enlisted in the Army in 1974 (an accidental career precipitated by the pending divorce of my parents), I was headed toward a total embrace of lesbianism, although unbeknownst to me.

When I arrived to Ft. McClellan, Alabama, it was nearly midnight. As new privates in the U.S. Army, we were efficiently lined up and issued linens, towels, and promptly sent to bed in the early hours of the morning. I heard the cries of women around me before falling into a short and restless sleep. Suddenly, the bay lights came on for the first full day in basic training as the platoon sergeant shouted “all you sleeping beauties, rise and shine!”

Despite many misgivings about my career choice, I enjoyed the regiment and the rhythm of training. Saturday nights in the laundry room were sessions in shoe shining, ironing and sharing platoon gossip. Finally, one night, Nancy, sitting on the floor next to me as we leaned against the dryer, told me she was a “lesbian” and tilted over to kiss me. I did not resist. I was wowed and thrilled by her boldness. Her kiss and our mutual crush through basic training, culminated in a thrilling and frustrating night of clumsy love making in an Army issued pup tent during our field training exercise before graduation. Those moments changed me forever.

By the time I arrived to Ft. Devens, Massachusetts in March 1974, I was in the early days of loving women—the lovely days of discovering “true love” and of having found oneself. Not knowing or fully appreciating the dangers of the love, we dare not speak of; I went to Boston for the weekend with a group of women, which included my first visit to a gay bar called “The Other Side.” It was a weekend that furthered self-discovery, completely innocent and full of excitement.

Upon our return to base, all of us who went to the gay bar were called into security and read our Miranda rights—the accusation was for being a homosexual, a lesbian. I was so young, and not fully out to myself and not to the world. The investigation began and would not end for 15 months. And yet, while the infamous Ft. Devens witch-hunt continued, unabated in its viciousness, I persisted in my dangerous exploration and fell in love with Karen, my first love. This genuine love affair of the heart prompted a phone call to my mother, who I thought would be supportive and embrace my new self-discovery.

I remember how happy I was—so joyful in really knowing love for the first time. The moment I told my mother I had fallen in love with a woman and I felt I was gay, she responded by telling me: “your life will be so terrible and lonely.” I was shocked by her response—immediately changing the moment to a bittersweet one. Her response would create another wall between us, which would lengthen over the years.

I finished out my enlistment and went back to university to complete my bachelor’s degree and obtained my officer’s commission, while I remained in the Army Reserves.

Because of the Reagan recession, I reentered the Army in 1982 and remained in the closet. Yes, I knew I was gay, but I thought I could make a career in the Army because I was good at it and I loved the life of being a soldier. I did not fully understand how the Army’s enforcement of the gay ban would affect me emotionally. While I remained in the closet hiding, I would establish a successful career as an Army officer that would lead to my nomination to teach at West Point. And yet despite all the success, an investigation into my sexuality, triggered by a report I had made about a colleague who had sexually harassed me, finally woke me up to the belief that I would never have a healthy and happy personal life in the Army. It would only be a matter of time before I was “caught” being a lesbian and my life could be ruined.

I paid an incredibly high price for remaining in the military closet for all those years. Consequently, I never had a healthy, intimate relationship until several years after I left the Army behind, well into my late 30s. As the gay military ban issue began to heat up because of public demands for repeal of the discriminatory policy by returning veterans who served in Desert Storm, I proudly and publicly joined out military colleagues at the Pentagon on Veterans Day in 1991 declaring myself a lesbian, while we engaged in a protest. The pride of being out, being honest and truthful about who I am was a relief and removed a burden that has never returned. Being truthful for the first time in my adult life about being lesbian, created the emotional space for my horizons to expand and put me on a trajectory that has made for a purposive, thrilling at times, engaging and interesting life. I only wish I had come out sooner.

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News

‘As a Father, He’s Done Nothing’: Herschel Walker Urged the Mother of His Child to Have a Second Abortion – NYT

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The mother of Herschel Walker‘s 10-year old son who reportedly had an abortion the former NFL star paid for, reveals he also urged her to have a second abortion when she again became pregnant. She refused, ended their relationship, and gave birth to a boy, The New York Times reports.

The woman, whose name is not being published for family and safety reasons, revealed this week the former NFL star now running for a U.S. Senate seat as a hard core anti-abortion Republican had urged her to have the first abortion, and paid for it when she did.

“As a father, he’s done nothing. He does exactly what the courts say, and that’s it,” she told The Times. “He has to be held responsible, just like the rest of us. And if you’re going to run for office, you need to own your life.”

READ MORE: ‘Nothing to Be Ashamed of’: Herschel Walker Says if He Paid for an Abortion He Would ‘Be Forgiven’

The Times reports “the woman said Mr. Walker had barely been involved in their now 10-year-old son’s life, offering little more than court-ordered child support and occasional gifts.”

Walker has publicly acknowledged his eldest son, Christian Walker, but months ago when The Daily Beast revealed he had a “secret son,” Walker’s campaign confirmed only the second child, but did not initially reveal that Walker had fathered an additional two children.

In their interviews, the woman “described the frustration of watching Republicans rally around Mr. Walker, dismiss her account and bathe him in prayer and praise, calling him a good man.”

“The fact that I had a choice” to have an abortion, and “now he’s in the public trying to say he wants to put a ban on abortion completely,” the woman said. “It appalled me.”

She also “said Mr. Walker hardly knew his 10-year-old son — she said he had ‘maybe only seen him three times’ — and had not spoken to her in years.”

Walker is running to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, a progressive pastor. Warnock has not directly commented on this latest Walker scandal, one of many Georgia voters will have to weigh when they vote. On Thursday he tweeted, “The people of Georgia have a clear choice to make about who they think is ready to represent them in the United States Senate.”

Also on Thursday, Walker repeatedly flatly denied the allegations. But he did say if he had paid for an abortion, it was “nothing to be ashamed of.”

READ MORE: ‘Train Wreck’: Herschel Walker Criticized for New Ad Claiming God Helped Him ‘Overcome’ His Mental Illness

The woman, who is not being named by the press, also spoke with The Daily Beast, which broke the original story earlier this week and revealed many of the details the Times reported Friday.

Meanwhile, once his strongest supporter, Christian Walker has now become his father’s harshest critic.

“I stayed silent as the atrocities committed against my mom were downplayed, I stayed silent when it came out that my father, Herschel Walker, had all these random kids across the country, none of whom he raised,” Christian Walker said in a video he posted this week, after The Daily Beast’s report was published. “And you know, my favorite issue to talk about is father absence – surprise – ’cause it affected me. That’s why I talk about it all the time, because it affected me.”

“Family Values people: He has four kids, four different women, wasn’t in the house raising one of them,” Christian Walker continued, lambasting his father. “He was out having sex with other women. Do you care about family values? I was silent lie after lie after lie. The  abortion card drops yesterday – it’s literally his handwriting in the card. They say they have receipts, whatever. He gets on Twitter, he lies about it. Okay, I’m done.”

He hasn’t tweeted since Wednesday, but Christian Walker’s last tweet reads: “Wear a condom, damn.”

READ MORE: Watch: Herschel Walker Says if Georgia Voters Don’t Elect Him They Won’t Even ‘Have a Chance to Be Redeemed’
 

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Dr. Oz Campaigned in Front of Hitler’s Car at a Fundraiser Hosted by Matt Gaetz’s In-Laws and Rick Scott’s NRSC: Report

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New Jersey celebrity doctor turned Pennsylvania Republican senatorial nominee, Dr. Oz, asked high-dollar donors for campaign cash Thursday night while standing in front of a car – emblazoned with a red swastika flag – that actually was used by Adolf Hitler. The fundraiser was hosted by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz‘s in-laws and Republican Senator Rick Scott‘s National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Ironically, it was all predicted by “The Simpsons.”

Calling it “quite a choice,” Jezebel reports, “Dr. Mehmet Oz attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by sex pest Matt Gaetz’s in-laws on Thursday night at the Lyon Air Museum and stood in front of one of Adolf Hitler’s cars, which made it into the background of attendees’ photos.”

“The museum is full of WWII memorabilia, and yes, it is just a museum,” the website explains. “Twitter user Larry Tenney shared a screenshot from Instagram stories showing Oz standing on a small podium next to a TV monitor showing the logo for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a hashtag #TheOzShow. Jezebel confirmed the image as coming from the account of Shane Mitchell, who attended the event.”

The NRSC is chaired by Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott, who has come under fire for somehow spending millions of dollars in donations, but not on Senate campaigns. Scott, the former Florida governor, was the head of a healthcare corporation that was forced to pay the largest health care fraud settlement in history.

READ MORE: ‘What I Saw Was Abuse’: Allegations of Dr. Oz’s Experiments Killing Hundreds of Animals Fact-Checked by Whistleblower

Oz is running against – and slightly behind – Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman.

Jezebel has much more in its report, including that the “chair of the event, Palmer Luckey, is Gaetz’s brother-in-law and the billionaire founder of Oculus VR.”

“Luckey is a Donald Trump supporter and, in 2017, he was photographed with Steve Bannon and white supremacist Chuck C. Johnson, with both Johnson and Luckey flashing a white power gesture. Luckey claimed on Twitter that the gesture being a hate symbol was ‘fake news’ and that people do it to ‘playfully mimic Trump.'”

READ MORE: Dr. Oz Trounced in Newsmax Interview as Host Demands Explanation for ‘Wegner’s’ and ‘Crudité’ Ad

“Potentially not unrelated to his politics, Luckey is also the head of a military technology company called Anduril that makes surveillance equipment used on the US border and is now making drones. The company has multiple contracts with the Department of Defense and Gaetz, meanwhile, sits on the House Armed Services Committee.”

“Mitchell’s Instagram stories also showed that cancel culture warrior and incel king Jordan Peterson appeared at the event by video.”

“Dr. Oz began the week with a story about him killing puppies,” observes The Forward’s Jake Wasserman, “and now is ending it standing in front of Hitler’s car. Truly a landmark in the history of U.S. Senate campaigns.”

Sawyer Hackett, a communications strategist and advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted “The Simpson’s” and Fetterman seem to have predicted this all.

READ MORE: ‘Depraved’: Rick Scott’s NRSC Slammed Over Fundraiser Asking GOP Voters ‘Where Do You Want to Send Illegal Immigrants Next?’

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Biden Names and Shames ‘Socialist Republicans’ Who Voted Against His Infrastructure Bill but Are Begging Him for Funding

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President Joe Biden spoke about the September jobs report praised by leading economists Friday afternoon, and took a few moments to criticize the “socialist Republicans” who publicly voted against the critical infrastructure legislation that is an important part of his economic agenda, while privately begging him for funding for their districts.

“There’s a report, you guys can, as they say, as my grandkids say, ‘Google it,’ but a report that came out on CNN that says, ‘Republicans called Biden infrastructure program socialist.’ Then they asked for the money,” the President said mockingly.

“And it goes through all the Republicans, the most conservative Republicans, who called it ‘socialism,’ and how they’re asking for it. A guy named Paul Gosar,” President Biden said, referring to far-right wing white nationalist U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, Republican of Arizona.

“He’s written three separate letters to the administration, asking for projects in his district,” Biden said, appearing to read from the CNN report. “He says they enhance the quality of life and ease congestion, boost the economy.”

Biden. leaning into the microphone, told supporters, “Voted against it, says it’s all socialism.”

“Go down the list. Kentucky Representative Andy Barr.”

Mocking the GOP lawmaker he mimicked him saying, “The biggest socialist agenda.”

“Three different projects he wants, citing the importance of safety and growth in his district.”

“Rand Paul,” President Biden continued. “I go down the list. Look it up,” he said waving the pages of the report.

“Socialist,’ he said mockingly.

“I didn’t know there were that many socialist Republicans,” Biden deadpanned.

“Think about it. I’m serious,” the President urged. “Let’s get serious about taking care of ordinary people. Regular people like I grew up. Folks, look, you can’t make this stuff up. You got to say, I got to say, I was surprised to see so many socialists in the Republican caucus.”

Watch below or at this link.

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