April 7, 2005
Private: Gay Purple Heart Recipient Wants to Keep Serving
Army sergeant Robert Stout, of Utica, Ohio, who was awarded the Purple Heart after a grenade sent pieces of shrapnel into his arm, face and legs while serving as a gunner on a Humvee last May, wants to comtinue serving his country in the military as an openly gay soldier.
According to an AP interview:
[Stout] says he has not encountered trouble from fellow soldiers and would like to stay if not for the policy that permits gay men and women to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret.
"I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open," Stout said in an interview with The Associated Press. "But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it's just not worth it."
"The old armchair thought that gay people destroy unit camaraderie and cohesion is just wrong," Stout said. "They said the same things when they tried to integrate African-Americans and women into the military."