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What are we fighting for?


Brian Fricke

I joined the Marines in July of 2000; war was the last thing on my mind. I have always had an overwhelming desire in my heart to serve and protect, give back to a community that can only thrive when its citizens, the smaller parts, care about the whole. I was raised in a God fearing family, was in church Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday evening and any other time the doors were open. I was not in a gay culturally friendly environment from the start, but hey, that’s not what makes children gay.

I was taught right from wrong, the value of human life and the difference between saying and doing: All as equally important.

Very much in the closet from friends and family I suppressed, unknowingly, a very important part of what makes up: me, myself and I. My identity to age 18 had been difficult to define let alone allowed to flourish. I did however concur and hold certain truths to be self evident. All men were created equal. “Created” is the key word in this Nation defining phrase. We certainly are born the same, but if not into the majority, we do not remain the same. From the beginning of the Civil Rights Era, the Majority was white and male, yet, there is more. I’m a white male, but I’m gay. I am only treated as equal, by my government, until I identify myself as no longer belonging to the majority. In fact, the majority isn’t white and male at all, its being straight. My prejudicial element, a thing about me that another human could point out and discriminate against however, could be hidden.

African Americans struggled for equal rights as human beings on the sole difference that they were a different color. Not because they were a different race, Asian or European, East or American Indian, not having a different accent or being of different religion, they were treated egregiously based on naturally born color. They couldn’t hide their discriminating factor nor should they have. It was the observer that had the problem not the subject. The Unknown Rebel at Tiananmen Square became as iconic as Rosa Parks, both taking a stand against the majority. On larger scales and on smaller scales all around the world and throughout history, but few with such irony as a gay service member in the US Armed Forces.

I knew that I was a Sexual minority when I joined the Marines. I knew that I was not really accepted as who I was, because I had been born different. I came out to over a dozen Marines I served with in my five years active duty with no consequence or remorse. While in Okinawa, Japan I met over 30 gay and lesbian military members alone, even more in San Diego, California. We serve all over the world. We are a secretive group of friends, acquaintances, and fellow gay professional soldiers all forced into hiding a part of who we are.


Is it “What are we fighting for?” Or “Why are WE fighting?”

We don’t want to do anything more than protect the citizens of our nation where ever the threat comes from. We would die for the inherent freedoms of strangers. We are fighting, willing to make the sacrifice in hopes one day WE will be granted the basic rights to live open, free and in pursuit of happiness. Maybe we just liked guns, or being part of an illustrious military history, for me it was all of the above and like my grandfather, I did so by earning the title of United States Marine.

Semper Fi!

Sgt Fricke (USMC)