Friday, November 20, 2009

Mr Gay and Right: How can you, Of All People, Condemn This Poor Girl?

I came across this sad story of  21 year old Private Bethany Smith at Gay and Right's page. For those who don't already know, Bethany Smith was a Private in the U.S. army who went AWOL and fled to Canada in September, 2007. She was being threatened and persecuted by her fellow soldiers simply because she is a lesbian. Apparently, she was outed by a fellow soldier who saw her walking hand and hand with another girl in a shopping mall.

Originally, the Refugee Board's decision was to deport her but today, she was granted a reprieve. Judge Yves de Montigny said the Refugee Board made an error and they must reconsider her case because it unfairly dismissed evidence suggesting that gays face harsher treatment in the American military justice system.

"I am of the view that the board's failure to explain why this evidence was rejected was material to its decision," the judgment said.

The judge also said the board didn't even consider the fact that the military base, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where Smith served is also that same base where Pte. Barry Winchell, a gay American soldier who was beaten to death with a baseball bat almost a decade ago.

Private Smith has said she has received threatening notes daily, including death threats, superiors giving her extra work and of course, good ol' daily harrassment since being outed. 

She did try to legally get herself discharged from the Army under the "Don't Ask Don't Tell policy". However, they simply shrugged it off and told her that discharge paperwork would not be ready until after her next deployment to Afghanistan. 

That's real helpful! Yeah! Let's send her to Afghanistan or Iraq, any of these war torn countries where life is chaotic for all.  Her fate would definitely have been sealed and more than likely, she would have come home in a body bag.  Her death would no doubt be passed off as 'killed in the line of duty', when in reality, she probably would have been killed by a fellow homophobic soldier or sent into dangerous situations by equally homophobic superiors.

Here are the details of Private Bethany Smith's case.

Now, Mr Gay and Right, how in the hell can you, of all people, condemn this girl? We should all offer her compassion, but you, sir, why are you so callous? 

You've never suffered at the hands of homophobic rednecks? You've never been tormented? Beaten up? Left for dead? How about your partner? If you say nothing ever happened to you or your partner after coming out, you must be very lucky.

What if it were your partner going through what Bethany Smith is going through? Wouldn't you do everything you can to protect him as he would protect you?

Are that gung-ho gaga over the Military and the wars in the middle east or are you just trying to impress your buddies over at Romper Room (blogging tories)? 

It must be hard being an oddity in Romper Room; I read the comments at your page; hard not fitting in, isn't it?

At least, you only have to contend with some ignoramous red neck bloggers over at that board. 

This poor girl must contend with far worse with nowhere to turn. It must be a terrible lonely feeling.

Oh and to appeal to your conservative sensibilities; it's  not like the girl is sitting at home collecting welfare. She is working at a call centre in Ottawa.

I hope this girl gets to stay in Canada or if she must return to the U.S., she can get her discharge. Everyone deserves to feel secure. She deserves our compassion, not condemnation.


Patrick Ross said...

It seems to me that -- while I reject unconditionally sheltering US war enlisted war resisters in Canada -- the judge made the right decision in this case.

Smith serving at Fort Campbell and the beating death of Mitchell would be immaterial were it not for the threats Smith reportedly received (although physical evidence of a written threat would be nice to have for this case).

Although I'm less comfortable with insinuation that the Board rejected Smith's application due to homophobia -- it's poor form for a judge to accuse another legal office of being bigoted.

CK said...

Patrick, while most who do go to war know that geting killed is a risk, however, it is not a certainty. With Pte. Smith, death would have been a certainty had she gone overseas as I pointed out in my posting. Her own country isn't helping her which is why she looked for help here.

We used to be known as a compassionate nation; one of the qualities that separated us from Americans.

I realize it's been on the decline in recent years, but it sure would be nice to have it back again.

Patrick Ross said...

Ugh. Is there any remote possibility that you could have said anything more nonsensical?

In war, death is always a possibility -- and a strong one. It is never a "certainty".

CK said...

In her case it would have been. I already illustrated why it would be a certainty for her. Hello? Homophobic superiors deliberately sending her to dangerous assignments; her own colleagues killing her and making it look like an accident?

Sparky said...

Even under the most dangerous conditions, death is never certain. Not even in war.

To attempt to argue otherwise is, quite frankly, stupid.

CK said...

Oh Sparky, I bet you're for sending every refugee claimant back to their respective hell holes without getting the full story, are you?

I already explained how her fate would be sealed if deployed in my post.

What? Her serving with non homophobic soldiers and equally as tolerant superiors are not likely scenarios given what she faced state side.