The Navy Gave a Gay Man a Home—And a ‘Bad Paper’ Discharge That Haunted Him for Decades

A Vietnam War Veteran Reflects on 50 Years of Fighting for People Like Himself and The Group He Loved

I was 17 when I joined the Navy in 1965. My family was poor, and I was failing out of high school. Four years in the Navy felt like my only option.

I’d hoped to avoid ground combat by enlisting in the Navy, but within nine months of joining, I found myself in Vietnam.

During those long 13 months at war, the one good thing was the circle of friends I made, first as a hospital corpsman in an aid station in the jungle, and then onboard the hospital ship Repose.

The first …

How PTSD Nearly Stole My Life

Haunted by Guilt and the Smells of Blood and Gunpowder

It has been 45 years since I returned to the U.S. from Vietnam. I was only 19, but the year I spent there made me feel like I had already …