LGBT Army dismisses gay Arabic linguist 'outed' by e-mail

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by NOVAJock, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

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    Army dismisses gay Arabic linguist 'outed' by e-mail

    By DUNCAN MANSFIELD
    Associated Press Writer

    JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP) - A decorated sergeant and Arabic language specialist was dismissed from the U.S. Army under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, though he says he never told his superiors he was gay and his accuser was never identified.

    Bleu Copas, 30, told The Associated Press he is gay, but said he was "outed" by a stream of anonymous e-mails to his superiors in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    "I knew the policy going in," Copas said in an interview on the campus of East Tennessee State University, where he is pursuing a master's degree in counseling and working as a student adviser. "I knew it was going to be difficult."

    An eight-month Army investigation culminated in Copas' honorable discharge on Jan. 30 _ less than four years after he enlisted, he said, out of a post-Sept. 11 sense of duty to his country.

    Copas now carries the discharge papers, which mention his awards and citations, so he can document his military service for prospective employers. But the papers also give the reason for his dismissal.

    He plans to appeal to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.

    The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, established in 1993, prohibits the military from inquiring about the sex lives of service members, but requires discharges of those who openly acknowledge being gay.

    The policy is becoming "a very effective weapon of vengeance in the armed forces" said Steve Ralls, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a Washington-based watchdog organization that counseled Copas and is working to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

    Copas said he was never open about his sexuality in the military and suspects his accuser was someone he mistakenly befriended and apparently slighted.

    More than 11,000 service members have been dismissed under the policy, including 726 last year _ an 11 percent jump from 2004 and the first increase since 2001.

    That's less than a half-percent of the more than 2 million soldiers, sailors and Marines dismissed for all reasons since 1993, according to the General Accountability Office.

    But the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.

    Discharging and replacing them has cost the Pentagon nearly $369 million, according to the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Lt. Col. James Zellmer, Copas' commanding officer in the 313th military intelligence battalion, told the AP that "the evidence clearly indicated that Sgt. Copas had engaged in homosexual acts."

    While investigators were never able to determine who the accuser was, "in the end, the nature and the volume of the evidence and Sgt. Copas's own sworn statement led me to discharge him," Zellmer said.

    Military investigators wrote that Copas "engaged in at least three homosexual relationships, and is dealing with at least two jealous lovers, either of whom could be the anonymous source providing this information."
    Shortly after Copas was appointed to the 82nd Airborne's highly visible All-American Chorus last May, the first e-mail came to the chorus director.

    "The director brought everyone into the hallway and told us about this e-mail they had just received and blatantly asked, 'Which one of you are gay?'" Copas said.

    Copas later complained to the director and his platoon sergeant, saying the questions violated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

    "They said they would watch it in the future," Copas said. "And they said, even specifically then, 'Well, you are not gay are you?' And I said, 'no.'"

    The accuser, who signed his e-mails "John Smith" or "ftbraggman," pressed Copas' superiors to take action against him or "I will inform your entire battalion of the information that I gave you."

    On Dec. 2, investigators formally interviewed Copas and asked if he understood the military's policy on homosexuals, if he had any close acquaintances who were gay, and if he was involved in community theater. He answered affirmatively.

    But Copas declined to answer when they asked, "Have you ever engaged in homosexual activity or conduct?" He refused to answer 19 of 47 questions before he asked for a lawyer and the interrogation stopped.

    Copas said he accepted the honorable discharge to end the ordeal, to avoid lying about his sexuality and risking a perjury charge, and to keep friends from being targeted.

    "It is unfair. It is unjust," he said. "Even with the policy we have, it should never have happened."
    ___

    Servicemembers Legal Defense Network: http://www.sldn.org/

    Fort Bragg, http://www.bragg.army.mil/

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    :noes: im scared
     
  3. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

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    why?
     
  4. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    dont ask, dont tell :nono:

    im trying to join....ssshhhhhhhh
     
  5. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

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    ah. I understand. :o
     
  6. XPX

    XPX New Member

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    that's so sad :sad2:
    he's a cutie :o he'll get hired fast...I hope.
     
  7. Virality

    Virality New Member

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    :ugh: its depressing how they'll straight up discharge anyone, no matter how good they are at what they do, just because of their preference.:nono:
     
  8. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    not really. when you sign the contract it states in there somewhere the dont ask dont tell policy. and besides that, once you sign the contract you're PROPERTY of the US military, they can do with you as they please. dont like it, dont sign the contract.



    just my opinion though :o
     
  9. ManyHamsters

    ManyHamsters There are necessary pursuits... but poetry, beauty

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    don't go tango!! i don't want you coming back in cute little pieces :(
     
  10. RyRy

    RyRy Active Member

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    +1 :emo:
     
  11. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    but ill be protecting* you :naughty:


    *Tango projects voices as if to add emphasis to the word.
     
  12. NOVAJock

    NOVAJock Modded & Underrated

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    hmm, I can always use some protecting... :naughty: :x:
     
  13. spiffy_badrock

    spiffy_badrock I'm sorry, if you were right, I'd agree with you.

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    Ya know, its not just like they got rid of some grunt either, with how we are becoming more and more intertwined with the Arab world....this is the last guy we need to not have on our side!
     
  14. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    hesw cute, im drunk. whats new
    ?
     
  15. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    I've always disliked the policy. I know a lot of army str8-acting fags, and they are very interesting people. PT, if you really want to enter the armed forces, I hope that you have read all of the research out there on how army homosexuals deal once out of service...especially with relationships.
     
  16. CoCo

    CoCo ...is a Queer Don!! OT Supporter

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    And, will you no longer be posting on OT?
     
  17. MapleLeaf

    MapleLeaf New Member

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    Protecting or protection? :dunno:
     
  18. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    ill look into it, but im not going for army ;) :wavey:
     
  19. Priest Tango

    Priest Tango Custom User Tits

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    not when im on vay K:cool:
     

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