Welcome to the message board. I hope you use it to express your ideas, within reason. Your comments may be posted to support a dialogue. This should be a serious format and also fun way to get acquainted. I take the liberty of screening all messages before they appear on the website, but then any Colonel would do the same.
- Grethe

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GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Ketty Fernandez
Submitted: 2008-06-28 18:52:36.000 (post #: 2240)

The Army should be proud of a woman like you. dear Grethe. If the Army would recruite more women like you the Army would be invincible. The strength of a Viking the heart of a lamb. Ketty
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Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Grethe
Submitted: 2008-06-29 01:14:27.000 (post #: 2243)

You are very kind. There are 65,000 Gays and Lesbians serving in the military today being denied their humanity and having to live a lie. They have to be invincible.
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Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY

Submitted: 2008-07-02 11:09:13.000 (post #: 2246)

I just saw your biography on the Logo channel. I remember when it first aired years ago and decided it wasn't something I cared about. Well, I am glad I saw it this morning. I spent two years in Baghdad as a civilian contractor and became quite close to many of our warfighters. One day I was sent to Camp Victory to get my military ID renewed. As a waited to be photographed a door opened and a Lt. flew out and would have made Richard Simmons look like John Wayne. A captain saw the look on my face and laughed and said, "Don't worry, he harmless." Things have changed since you were in Colonel. Best Wishes, John in Pensacola JRRUSA@gmail.com
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Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Grethe
Submitted: 2008-07-04 19:29:03.000 (post #: 2249)

I can't help but smile at your letter. I was in the midst of my "trial", we were in a back room of HQ, and my attorneys looked around at the other military personnel in the office and said "and you are the one they are trying to throw out of the military?" Gaydar was at work because it looked as though there were at least 6 others like me, still in uniform, not undergoing discharge proceedings. We also know that there are about 65,000 homosexuals serving with distinction in the military today and over 1,000,000 veterans. We are indeed everywhere.
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Re: Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Jessica
Submitted: 2008-09-12 16:08:38.000 (post #: 2255)

There are many GLBT individuals in and out of the army that "fight the good fight." This much is true. But I am here to point out one little piece of the puzzle. I am not one to blow smoke up anyone's nose or use flattering tactics to get my voice heard. However, what makes your story so much more personable and vivid is that you are truly humble. I have read many of the comments left here and your responses to them. At any point in which you, personally, are given a compliment you are quick to pass on the glory to others "just like you." It is a rare and beautiful quality. So, instead of telling you how much of an inspiration you are or how you have touched so many lives - because you will surely decline the compliment in order to share it with others - I will say thank you for making the rest of us aware that there are many others who also deserve the same support we are giving you. - Jessica
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Re: Re: Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Grethe
Submitted: 2008-09-20 18:36:25.000 (post #: 2257)

Jessica: You hit the nail on the head. The struggle for gays in the miliary, in the boy scouts, in some churches, and in some families is the same. And you are so right that everyone deserves support in their journey. The ultimate goal is of course that one day sexual orientation will be a non-issue then we really will have achieved equality.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Jessica
Submitted: 2008-10-13 00:45:32.000 (post #: 2260)

I could not agree more. Equality is such a difficult concept for the world, as a whole, to grasp. There seems to be a transparent blanket between the thought of equality and the ability to achieve it. I grew up in a home where I never heard the words "gay","straight", "lesbian", "homosexual" or "heterosexual." However, my path ultimately led me to the most beautiful woman (and relationship) I have ever experienced. The strange thing is that even now that the words mentioned above are now part of my every day vocabulary it has not really changed anything about the way other perceive me. I am extremely fortunate that homophobia is not a "disease" that flows through my families veins. They are supportive and treat me as they always have. I never knew such prejudice existed until I met my partner. Her fear of being "found out" was so overwhelming at times that she would make herself physically ill. We are no longer lovers, but very good friends. She is still going through her struggle. I try my best to support her in a way that works for her. I must admit that it is no easy task. I just pray that one day she will learn to love herself as you and so many others have. Your story is what gives me hope for her. - Jessica
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY
Grethe
Submitted: 2008-10-14 23:00:39.000 (post #: 2264)

It is amazing how much power we give others by living a lie. Not only do we live the lie, we perpetuate it by our silence and really end up not trusting friends and family by believing they would be "offended" if they knew of our orientation. Sometimes the anticipation of what would happen if they knew is worse than what actually happens when you live your truth. I was expecting that my children, my father, my siblings would not want anything to do with me, yet once they knew we the honesty and openness in our family was as never before.
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: GRETHE AND THE ARMY

Submitted: 2008-10-15 01:57:57.000 (post #: 2265)

That is so very true. I tried to get her to see that living the lie was killing her. "Outing" herself would be no big deal as there would really be nothing to lose. However, I learned that you cannot force anyone to understand this. It is something they have to accept or reject on their own. The dangerous part is truly that she is doing neither. She is living in limbo. She admits it to herself on a rare occasion of insight but will not admit it to others under any circumstances. She is truly a beautiful person. She is strong in the physical sense... and in most mental senses. I guess this truth is just too hard for her to swallow. I think I am going to "accidentally" leave your book at her house one of these days. Hopefully she'll get the hint. :o) - Jessica
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Just wanted to express my thoughts :-)
Emma
Submitted: 2008-12-29 09:25:28.000 (post #: 2278)

Colonel, I watched Serving In Silence last night after being given it on DVD as a Christmas present. I first saw a bit of it some time in the Nineties but it was on so late that I could just not keep my eyes open... At the time, I did not realise that I was gay. I look back and laugh now (having finally realised last smmer at the age of 25) because it was so darn obvious!! Luckily for me, once I did come out and started to tell people, I got fantastic support - even from the "Old Guard" (My Grandpa!) The only person who has let me down has been my Mother. She always SAID it would be ok if my brother and I turned out to be gay. However, the reality of it was too much for her (and I firmly believe that I would have realised earlier had she was not so vehemently against anything that was not her version of "normal"). So much so that she would not let my partner come to my Dad's funeral.....which just makes me realise that we all have our battles. Some big, some small. But we all have them and I am going to fight and help others in the fight against the injusitces that still prevail. I am lucky, I work for a police force that is hot on "tolerance, diversity" etc. I can not imagine what it would have been like to be in an organisation such as the military where I had to hide my true self. My partner had to do that in the RAF because it was illegal at the time she served. I just can't imagine living in that fear of "being found out" and the fact that people serving in the American forces still have to still have to live like that utterly shocks me. This, unfortunatley, sounds like I'm getting all sachrine, but seeing your film has further strengthened my resolve to challenge and change the way people think about us - WE'RE ALL HUMAN, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!! *Emma*
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Re: Just wanted to express my thoughts :-)
Grethe
Submitted: 2009-02-20 12:51:43.000 (post #: 2286)

Thank you for contacting me after the film. It is amazing that it still touches the hearts of people having either gone through similar rejection or who finally understand themselves. It is quite wonderful how the world is slowly changing, one coming out event after another. We hope that with a new president that the Don't Ask Don't Tell will finally be overturned here in America. We will still work on that one person at a time but unfortunately we have 65000 servicemembers still having to serve, be wounded, die, without having the support of their families because of this law. One day we will all be truly free. Thank you again.
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No Comment
Janice Edberg
Submitted: 2009-03-27 00:12:21.000 (post #: 2288)

I just finished watching "Serving in Silence" and felt compelled to "Google" find out the rest of your story. I was thrilled to discover you were able to rejoin the Army and eventually retire on your own terms. Your courage, honesty and persistence in fighting for your beliefs are an inspiration to many, whether in regards to the military orany other organization that discriminates against the GLBT community, one of which is the church. I am involved in an organization within the Lutheran church that works with congregations to become "Reconciling in Christ" (RIC) congregations which requires adopting a statement of welcome that specifically states GLBT people are welcome n that church. This process requires a lot of conversations and telling of stories which is very healthy as many people have the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" mindset. My home church recently overwhelmingly voted to become an RIC congregation after a year process of discernment and, interestingly, none the people on the committee who dedicated hours to the cause, were GLBT. Having straight people devoted to the cause of fairness gives me hope that some day it will be generally accepted that discrimination is discrimination regardless of the facade. Every small step forward brings us closer to the day when sexual orientation will be a non-issue; whether in the workplace, the military, the church or any other organization. Thank you to both you and Diane for sharing your story.
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Re: telling our stories
Grethe
Submitted: 2009-05-20 01:14:14.000 (post #: 2292)

There is no question in my mind that as each of us tells our story the stories sound more the same than different and as such it normalizes us collectively. Indeed the churches are like the military, needing to change to open themselves up to all or become insignificant. Wonderful that your church has opened the door. In some ways it is like the black civil rights movement in that it took whites walking side by side, the majority with the minority for social change to take place. Seems like you are in a family of enlightened. Good for you in living your truth also. Grethe
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No Comment
Ruben
Submitted: 2010-09-25 00:59:27.000 (post #: 2368)

I remember you from the 24th Evac. You have no reason to remember me but I was one of the originals. I help construct the hospital after landing on the ship from Fort Sam. I worked in the Emergency Room from day one as an enlisted tech so I met most of the staff coming and going. I also took extensive photos of the hospital frrom the very begining. If you are interested I'd love to show them to you? Ruben
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