Darren Manzella: discharge papers read "homosexual conduct admission."
"He listened and was somewhat sympathetic," Manzella said. "He told me not to worry, to try and get some rest, to go home early and see him in the morning."
By the next morning, Manzella's supervisor had reported him as having broken the law under "don't ask, don't tell," the 1993 policy that prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the U.S. military.
This breaks my heart. Manzella was being harassed and he did what the military told him to do: get help. I know some people reading this will think Manzella is an idiot for going to his supervisor; he should’ve known he would get kicked out. I think what he did takes balls…more balls then sitting back and accepting the harassment. The Army has a few things backwards. For example, a woman is sexually assaulted, she is told to call a number and report the incident. However, during the process she is pushed not to pursue the issue…it’ll cause more problems; everyone will think you can’t be trusted or that you’re a hoe. She drops the issue and feels betrayed by everyone around her. Another example is Sergeant Manzella. This soldier served two honorable tours in Iraq and gets kicked out because of his sexual orientation? Give me a break. The Army is continually sending two messages. It's insane that the Army keeps in worthless pieces of shit but lets a good soldier go. They have even lowered their standards because they need people to serve. I’d rather serve with a gay man or woman then some law breaking scumbag. The day the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is thrown out the window is the day I’ll finally say the Army is sending a clear message.
Sgt. Manzella wherever you are, I hope you know there are soldiers who support you and appreciate your service. Happy Veterans Day.
Read Sgt. Manzella's story here.