Lesbians and Gays in the Military

April 10, 1996

Michele Benecke is co-director of the Service Members Legal Defense Network which assists gay service members and veterans and those inside the military who are "accused" of being gay. Benecke is a former Captain and Battery Commander in the U.S. Army. Her article, "Military Women in Nontraditional Job Fields: Casualties of the Armed Forces War on Homosexuals" is a leading authority on how the military’s gay ban disproportionately affects all women, regardless of sexual orientation. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Paul Thomasson is a former Navy lieutenant who was dismissed from the service last June after coming out to his commanding admiral in 1994 in a letter stating "I am gay." Although some military brass were supportive of him, he was kicked out. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals upheld the Clinton Administration’s "Don’t Ask- Don’t Tell" policy in a ruling that said it was inappropriate for the Federal courts to tell Congress and the President how to deal with the issue.


Michele Benecke

Paul Thomasson