Re: Misunderstanding MRFF: Many Hate What MRFF Does, Until They Learn What MRFF Does

I was raised as a devout Catholic in an all-white, all-working class, all Christian environment. By age 11, I knew I was gay, but didn’t know that concept.  I just knew that what “excited” me was other males, not girls.  I don’t think I was obvious, but I caught the attention of the choirmaster at church, and was excited to “do stuff” at last.
When I “told” a couple of years later, he was fired, but got a similar job at another church.  No police report of suspected child abuse, of course.
After high school, which was full of desire and denial, I entered a monastery, hoping that “God” would save me from my sinful nature. I discovered I wasn’t the only one there of like mind.  I left after a couple of fellow seminarians suggested they’d be interested in more than prayer.
So I enlisted, in order to avoid the draft.  Navy.  Corpsman.  I didn’t experience the religious hypocrisy, but I did experience the “straight” hypocrisy of actually enjoying the fact that there was someone around who blow them.  Hey, half the Corpsmen are gay, right???  Or at least not “real men.”
I dared to come out at my second duty station, and I’m actually proud to say that at my discharge hearing, every officer testified FOR me, even when given an invitation to recant their excellent evaluations of my performance.  This was 1967, before DADT, of course.
I had to laugh when my JAG said it was because I was a “security risk” because I could be blackmailed into giving out state secrets.  I knew he was just saying what he had to say because he was actually grinning when I told me that.  I decided to ask him “1. How can I be blackmailed if I’m out?  and 2) Does an E-4 actually KNOW any state secrets?  He nodded and grinned again.  I got a General, Under Honorable, which was then upgraded to Honorable.
When DADT came into law, I wasn’t unhappy, but it was a half step, and had loopholes.  Then, ten years ago, it was repealed.  My contacts in the service, during the “transition” period after repeal, told me things like “When I did the mandatory briefing, my people just laughed at me.” The enlisted mentality that was reported to me by that officer was that “who gives a shit if somebody’s gay?”  (And this was a straight Coast Guard officer whose men were mostly from Georgia at that point.)
I guess this is one of the positive stories that you may rarely hear, but the underlying fact is that what you reveal about officers using their positions to impose their personal beliefs, is pervasive, and not only in the military.
I definitely admire you and your work.  Indoctrination is NOT acceptable.
(name withheld)

Thanks for sending Mikey.  Based on what happened to me in the military we need to be evaluated based on our skills, abilities, professionalism, etc. and not a religious test.  Not sure if I told you before but at one of my assignments at Andrews AFB one of the officers pulled out a Bible from his desk drawer and gave me a lecture that I don’t recall the details about.  He wasn’t my supervisor but I was a bit frightened because I felt like I was being judged based on his personal religious views.  Even though I’m a Ukrainian Orthodox Christian, other Christian religions can discriminate because as you know Christian beliefs and traditions vary greatly.  I know that your organization is not anti-Christian whatsoever it’s about protecting individuals from a religious test.  Based on what happened to me in the military, which is detailed in my 2015 federal lawsuit, religion was the root cause of the many actions taken against me.  Looking back, I don’t have any regrets regarding the complaints I filed because I don’t want anyone to ever have to go thru the horrific things that brought great pain to both myself and family members.  Wish you all the best!!!  v/r  (name withheld)

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