For the last six months of my time in the United States Air Force, I was openly gay. Even the officers in the laboratory and all my fellow airmen knew I was gay.
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Compared to the dangerous, rage-filled military of today, where even the hint of homosexuality will get one badly beaten or savagely murdered, mine were almost halcyon days as an openly gay Airman First Class, where my boyfriend and I could be together and everybody in my flight knew about us. They could have been halcyon days, that is, if it hadn't been for the madness of the war and the schizophrenia of the American public over that southeast Asian conflict; and it hadn't been for the wife I left back home and the child we had. What should have been idyllic days of my youth spent proudly serving my country as a gay soldier were misspent, instead, trying to make sense of what had gone so terribly wrong, so fast: one day I was a gay college student, the next a self-loathing homosexual trapped in a straight marriage, and the next a GI in the military machine during Vietnam.