Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: When Silence Leads to Abuse

August 12, 2009 · Posted By Rachel Krantz · Filed Under LGBTQ, politics, Uncategorized, US Navy abuse investigation 

I met Joseph Christopher Rocha standing outside San Francisco City Hall minutes after Proposition 8 was upheld. He stood with an American flag and a poised gaze, and I knew right away that this was someone I needed to interview.

Rocha spoke eloquently and passionately about his feelings on the ruling, only briefly mentioning his status as a gay veteran. We kept in touch, and when he mentioned via email that he was discharged because he came out as gay after years of abuse in his own unit, I realized that this story was much bigger than one interview outside City Hall could contain.

Parental discretion is advised.


One Response to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: When Silence Leads to Abuse”

  1. Roger Little on August 16th, 2009 8:11 am

    I’m reminded what a small, unique place the San Francisco Bay Area is. In this piece I see reflected so much of what is screwed up in human nature. How a few brutes can mess up another persons life. How abusive authority can be. How evil frequently goes unpunished, and virtue spat upon. How one person can make a difference (in this instance, the new recruit who reported the abuse), but even then, for the sake of the dysfunctional majority, the rot is allowed to go on, unchecked. I fully expect the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be ceremoniously ended before Obama leaves office. Let it be sooner, than later. Thank you for your service, Joseph. It wasn’t in vain. Your testimony provides additional evidence that will ultimately defeat Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.



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