Officer X is a young, gay military officer who is currently serving on active duty despite the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on open service. He is a pilot and regularly flies throughout the world both in and out of combat. Follow him on Twitter @TIMEOfficerX or email him TIMEOfficerX@gmail.com
Here’s an excerpt of his latest post called “Blackmail.”
If I were to point to a single person it would be former Army Sgt. Tracy L. Cooper-Harris. Of the dozens of first-hand accounts I’ve read of troops serving under DADT, hers is the hardest to read. When she was found to be a lesbian by a few of her co-workers, they blackmailed her to perform sexual favors for them in exchange for the honor of continuing to serve her country. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” provided a framework that allowed her to be systematically raped:
“I had a choice: report these men for “sexual harassment/cohesion” and end my military career or submit to their demands. Despite the military’s “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment, it doesn’t apply to those forced in the closet under DADT. I was sexually blackmailed and just a teenager.”
Her story struck a chord within me, as I once received a similar ultimatum. It was one of the most stressful times during my senior year of college when a fellow student found out about me and tried to blackmail me for sexual favors and even started stalking me via Facebook.
I refused to humor him, but he continued to persist. He became so obsessed that I received a message from him saying he would report me to my commander if I didn’t do as he said. I was alone and had nobody to turn to in order to ask for help. My heart raced. “This guy is a god-damned terrorist” is all I could think of. That very thought reminded me of how our government and military deal with terrorists, and I refused to let myself be his victim.
Read more at time.com