Lesbian Soldier Wins 35-Year Fight for an Honorable Discharge
Kicked out of the military in 1979 for being a lesbian, Lisa Weiszmiller of Oklahoma City has been vindicated with an honorable discharge.
Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. Army soldier was given a “less-than-honorable” discharge. Weiszmiller, 53, said she’s proud that her discharge has been upgraded by the Army Board of Correction for Military Records.
Her next objective is to get the Department of Veterans Affairs to cover her post-traumatic stress disorder, which she says is a result of being humiliated by Army personnel.
“Back then, the treatment was barbaric,” Weiszmiller told The Oklahoman. She found herself being interrogated for hours about her sexual orientation and ordered to perform hard and embarrassing labor, like cutting grass by hand along with another female soldier accused of being gay, all while drill sergeants insulted them.
She said, “If they came upon us, they would stop their troops, and we would have to come to parade rest, and they would berate us.”
“These are queers! These are lesbians! Stay away from these homosexual women,” she recalled them saying. “They tried everything they could to try to break us down to what they thought we were.”
Since her discharge, Weiszmiller worked as an emergency medical technician and as a nurse, but suffered from drug addiction.
Weiszmiller was one of about 100,000 service members who were thrown out of the service because of their sexual orientation between World War II and September 2011. That was when the Obama administration ended the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibited gays from openly serving in the military.
To Learn More:
Gay Oklahoma Soldier's Discharge Upgraded to Honorable (by Randy Ellis, The Oklahoman)
VA Awards First Benefits to Spouse of Gay Soldier Killed in Afghanistan (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
6 States Refuse Benefits to Gay National Guard Spouses (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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