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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Serving the Public/Private Sector
Russ
Submitted: 2008-07-29 10:44:33.000 (post #: 2252)

I am not in the military, but have been proud to work in government service for my career choice. Noting is prouder than service to ones country and fellow citizen. When I started my career in government (local town government) I decided that I would keep being gay a secret, my partner of 9 yrs did not want us to be out. I felt that a part of me was hidden, that when I would hear my co-workers talk about their families with pride, i could not share my proud relationship with them. This was a hard for me. When we moved to Florida, I had opportunity to be appointed to a county board by the county mayor. I remember how nervous i was outside her office before the interview for the appointment. The board was an important one, it dealt with higher education and bond issuance to build schools and provide education. I said to myself she would never allow a Homosexual to help build universities or control money to build the schools. As I stepped into her office, (my palms full of sweat) I sat down and she said, tell me about yourself, I immediately said I am gay and I want you to know that, because what i do and who I am will effect your career too if you appoint me. She replied to me and said "so?", is that the only reason why you feel you are unfit to serve. I said yes, she said that is not a concern of mine, She said I am a big girl I can handle it. I asked what about the county attorney's investigation into my background or the full county commission vote to install me into my position. She said can u do the job, can u serve ethically...I said yes...she said it won't be a problem...When my appointment came before the county commission the vote was unanimous to install me into the board position. I am not serving my second term on this board and I am proud to be doing so openly. This situation gave me the strength to serve openly in my government boards and private sector career positions that I currently hold...I sit on many federal government alliance and advisory committees (some that deal with intelligence/security information sharing) and I haven't been asked to leave because I am gay. The company that I work for (because of the nature of my work) has assigned me a private corporate security detail (only when we travel). These guys who are on the detail are prior military special ops guys and they know i am gay. But as they have said to me they could care less about me being gay. They protect me and my partner when we travel and they treat us as if we were a straight married couple. These guys are all straight and conservative guys/married with young kids, I recently found out they the refused to be reassigned by their company to another detail, i asked them why and they all said they feel honored to be on my detail. (i left the room immediately because I did not want them to see me cry)....Colonel I wanted to share my thoughts with you to let you know that even post military officers who work in the protective services industry and encounter us gays, do not have a problem with protecting a gay man and his partner and does not inhibit them from doing their duty as a team...Thanks for standing up for who you are..by doing it you have allowed me to stand with you... P.S. this year we will be one of the first gay couples attending the State Departments Security Overseas Seminar at the Foreign Affairs Institute.
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Re: Serving the Public/Private Sector/ and a surprise
Grethe
Submitted: 2008-07-29 20:54:51.000 (post #: 2253)

How wonderful for you to live your truth and realize that it was your own internalized homophobia which was in the way and made you fear for your future. It is wonderful and of course very surprising when we expect to be rejected and are respected instead. Thank you for sharing your story because we need to hear more such stories as we continue to change society. Congratulations for being the change agent. Grethe
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Re: Serving the Public/Private Sector
Jessica
Submitted: 2008-11-29 16:50:31.000 (post #: 2275)

What a refreshing message! I, too, serve the government. I do sympathize with those who are scared or feel the need to hide. I have never had that feeling. It amazes me that those who do (more often than not) find the courage to be themselves... out and proud or inward and reflective. Congratulations! -Jessica
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