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Military's Loss;
Corporate Gain

by Denny Meyer

Kevin Scott is an assistant vice president for a major national bank corporation.  He is openly gay and has been active in an employee group that worked to get a non discrimination policy and partner benefits implemented.  He lives in a house with his long term companion and their dog.  He'd always wanted the love, the house, and even the dog; but his career path is not the one he'd originally chosen for himself.

Since his year's in high school in Junior ROTC and as a Civil Air Patrol cadet; he'd had the military in mind all along and intended to become a career officer.  In fact, in his senior year in high school, he was Cadet Commander.  His efforts earned him a provisional Army ROTC scholarship; right after high school, he entered The Citadel, South Carolina's four year military college.  He excelled. Yet, in his junior year, realizing that what he was being taught about the undesirability of homosexuals in our armed forces contradicted who he knew he was, he did not take the commission and career that had awaited him.  This was in 1990, when being discovered to be gay meant a dishonorable discharge and disgrace.  While no one wants to experience that, it was as well a matter of personal integrity for him to not compromise the very values of honesty he had been taught and believed in.

At the time that he graduated from The Citadel, in 1990, there was no network for LGBT cadets or service members to seek support from.  As was the experience of so many others, he thought he might be the only gay cadet and reservist; a very lonely place to be for anyone.  Had it not been for the bigotry of rejection regarding gay service in our armed forces, and had he not had to deal with it alone, he would have gone forward with his dream and his potential of becoming an Army officer.

Instead, Kevin took police training, first working with the Sheriff's Department in Mecklenburg County, NC, and later with the Hickory Police Department just north of Charlotte, North Carolina.  One might not imagine acceptance being possible in rural American law enforcement agencies at that time, but in fact interaction with foreign business interests, in the global economy, have influenced forward looking local administrations to understand affirmative action, while our armed forces have remained insular and resistant to progress to this day.  After five years as a police officer, as he transitioned to becoming a private investigator, he was able to come out to his colleagues "the Southern way, one on one, over beer," as he put it.  During this time, Kevin met his life partner and spoke openly about himself in an article in the Charlotte Observer on National Coming Out Day.

In his current corporate position, he is able to be active in negotiating for further affirmative action within his company, while advancing on the merit of his ability without discrimination.

"The military is loosing out on the brain power of so many qualified and highly skilled people," he said, "while American corporations are benefiting from fully accepting those same individuals."

In 2003 he decided that Citadel cadets and graduates need not have to go through what he did without support or advice.  He founded the Citadel Gay and Lesbian Alliance to bring together gay graduates with those who are currently struggling with the issues he'd had to deal with alone.  Any advice given is nuanced primarily as a reality check.  Graduates serve as "family" for current cadets, telling them to not do anything that would compromise graduating (thus advising them no differently, really, than any mother or aunt would).  Beyond that, gay cadets are not persuaded either way to go forward with military service or not.  Rather, they are simply made aware of the realities involved at the current time with the DADT policy in effect.  What most of the gay cadets and graduates have in common is that they had all been highly motivated towards a military career; hence the heartening understanding engendered by the alliance.

  2008  Gay Military Signal