The Awkward Silence of Lesbians Serving Under D.A.D.T.

In the wake of the landmark injunction that would potentially halt the government’s ban on gays in the military, GO speaks with a former Army sergeant who tells her story for the first time

“The injunction is certainly a step in the right direction, because ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is a political mess that has nothing to do with soldiers,” says Christine Martucci, a former Army sergeant who spent a decade serving in the U.S. military. “Keep bullets in my rifle and give me good body armor and I’m there. I don’t care who is gay or straight and most other soldiers don’t either.”

Martucci, an OUTMusic award winner who resides with her wife in New Jersey, spoke candidly with GO Magazine about her experiences in the U.S. military. She enlisted when she was a homeless gay youth and was honorably discharged as a sergeant after 10 years of service.

“I think too many ignorant people chime in [on the DADT debate], people who have never been in the military,” Martucci told GO. “I’m so glad someone finally asked me about my military service. I’m not rich and famous because I was serving my country. I’m really proud of it and proud of my country. And, I would do it all over again—it made me who I am. The military gave me a sense of purpose and a home.”

Martucci said just being a woman in the Army was hard enough. “The first time I was in my duty station—just after I’d arrived in Germany—there were all these guys and me. I had just arrived, you know, and one guy said, ‘I don’t even know why they let women serve in the military.’ I told him, ‘I am an American just like you.’”

“You’re putting your life on the line for your country. What makes a homosexual less of a soldier? What makes a homosexual less of an American?” the popular singer/songwriter asks rhetorically. “I’d like the right to serve as myself without prejudice. There is no prejudice in the Constitution of the United States and that is how we should both follow and lead.”

Like so many other LGBT service members serving in silence, Martucci says she “loved every minute of it, loved everyone I served with. I was well-respected and I respected everyone else and my sexuality was never an issue.” Martucci served both before and during the existence of the DADT policy and often sings about the experiences of her sisters and brothers in the military.

“Once everyone got to know me as a person and knew I could hold my own—you know, I was a badass—then it was alright. DADT is politics at its finest. Honestly, if someone is shooting at you, the only thing you are worried about is staying alive, not if the person next to you is gay or straight or blonde…All you’re thinking about is staying alive. Most soldiers really are not worried if a gay person is serving next to them, especially in a war zone. The only thing anyone cares about is if you are competent and committed.”

Martucci was stationed in Germany and also worked for the State of New Jersey Department of Military & Veterans Affairs–New Jersey National Guard.

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