Monday, July 26, 2010

American Hero: Marine Sgt. Robert LeBlanc

"In the late 1960's, Robert LeBlanc was a combat Marine who fought in the Vietnam War. He became a decorated solider bravely fighting for his country, but after the war he came home to America to face discrimination and bigotry at the hands of the Marine Corps. who suspected he was gay."

Robert L. Danforth writes:
Robert LeBlanc endured interrogations by military officials who pressured him to divulge his sexuality. He was forced to take numerous lie detector tests and faced administrative reviews attempting to discharge him because he was gay. He challenged the system by refusing to answer their questions; a story which is the root of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that we have today. "During interrogations [Robert's] inquisitors repeatedly asked if he was homosexual and [Robert] continually replied "you have no right to ask me the question," says Pam Daniels - author of 'Silent Drums'.

In the 1970's, LGBT people had no humanitarian groups, supportive council or protective laws to back them, but LeBlanc still fought against military discrimination. His story highlights the challenges that gay men and lesbians in the armed forces face even today. And whether he was gay or straight, the military had no right to ask him a question of his sexuality at all. READ MORE

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