GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

Call 1-877-447-4487

Pressuring an Unresponsive Command

Generally, a statement is sufficient to trigger discharge proceedings. If the member’s commander does not seem to be acting on the statement, a first step can be to communicate directly with the separation authority.

Skeptical commands may need to be provided with further documentation but, regardless of what command representatives may say, there are virtually no circumstances under which it is advisable to provide evidence of homosexual acts. Instead, members should provide information about their life or lifestyle, such as documentation that they belong to gay religious or political groups, subscribe to gay periodicals, attend PFLAG meetings with their parents, statements where members describe their appreciation of gay culture, the emotional experience of recognizing and appreciating that they are gay, etc.

In some cases, members may ask friends, family members, ministers, or others to write statements about their sexual orientation. It is important for counselors to review any letter before it is submitted to the command to ensure that letter writers do not include information about sexual activity. Because command inquiries may involve attempts to interview these people, any letter writer must be reminded not to talk with military officials about sexual acts.

Members can also submit a letter from a civilian psychologist or doctor stating that the medical professional has had discussions with the member and that the member is indeed gay. Providing such a letter can prevent the military from investigating whether the member was lying in order to get out. Some servicemembers prefer to avoid doctors’ letters, which may seem to imply that homosexuality is a medical issue. Where statements from doctors or therapists are used, they can point out that homosexuality is not an illness. As with other letters, these must avoid references to homosexual acts. (Although Military Rule of Evidence 513 now recognizes psychotherapist-patient privilege, it is still important that the servicemember not authorize disclosure of unwanted evidence.)