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Notes from a gay soldier
Love and war

Click here to see a complete listing of our soldier's adventures in Iraq.

Editor’s Note: These are the thoughts of a gay soldier — a North Carolina native — who has been deployed to Iraq. Because of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he must remain anonymous.


Most people would laugh at this title, but relationships really can be like love and war. You can think the sweetest of thoughts and have great times with your partner, then fight tooth and nail over some trivial subject, argue, not speak, sleep in other rooms, all of which I have done, then to only to be sweet again.

I would say that my relationship has had both, lots of love and some war. The war part
of the relationship seems insignificant when I think about the support my partner has given me during my military career and in our lives together as a couple.

We met a little over two years ago. We both hesitated over each other, because there was a lot of war (baggage) in our past relationships. When we got over ourselves and finally realized that love could conquer the past (wars) in one’s life and relationships, we realized we were perfect for each other.

My partner has supported me more than anyone as far as my military service. Yet, as you know, because we are gay, my partner gets no emotional support from the U.S. Army. He has great support from our many friends, both gay and straight, and our loving Charlotte LGBT community, but he doesn’t get the official support that his straight counterparts in this situation do.

Just about a month and a half into our relationship, I was deployed stateside for a period of what was thought to be a month, but turned into five. Through it all, he stood by me and we made it through one of the best experiences of our lives. It allowed us as a couple to grow and explore the east coast of the United States together.

We found that Virginia is the state for lovers. We traveled all over Virginia — Richmond more times than I can count — Virginia Beach and we stayed in the Officers’ Quarters at the Naval Base. We went to Washington, D.C., and celebrated the nation’s birthday and saw the sites while celebrating my birthday, as well.

I can say through it all, my sweetheart made my deployment an enjoyable time. We communicated nearly every day and saw each other every 10-14 days. I could not have made it without him. During that time he supported me through a very hard and sometimes very homophobic deployment with the people with whom I was working.
As fate would have it, less than six months later, we got the ultimate call — that within another five-month period I would be leaving to go to Iraq for a year or more.

I can’t tell you the resolve that my partner has. He has been stronger than myself. He was there through it all, buying supplies for me to take, he organized a support party which I could only attend through a cell phone call. He has set up a support website and communicates to everyone we know in Charlotte on my conditions and life in the desert. He makes an intolerable deployment sometimes very comfortable, because where I am now also has a very homophobic atmosphere.

He has told me he plans to have a huge blow-out for me when I return for good at the new bar in NoDa called the Dog Bar, so we can even celebrate with our puppies on my return.

When you think of a relationship, there are always struggles. If it hadn’t been for the war in Iraq, it could have been our professional relocations or other issues that give us challenge. I want to thank him publicly for his support. He is my rock, my love and my true sweetheart, he is what a partner should be.

He keeps our home stable, pays the bills, feeds our kids (puppies) and maintains a solid support foundation for me when we talk. He emails me every day, picks me up when I’m down and keeps me motivated when times are tough. Life here is not easy and I know he fights his own battles at home with domestic issues that I’m not there to help with. He knows I’m in a constant state of unrest here, but love has seen us through.

It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. For us, it has. It has brought us together, enabled us to work out all the skeletons in our closets, forgive and forget the battles we have had with each other, focus on the real battle in life, loving each other unconditionally and accepting who we are. War is tragic and love is true and it can conquer many things. Loving him and winning our personal battles has been hard, but it’s the battle in our hearts for each other that has seen us through so much turmoil.

God bless you all. To my partner — you are my true soldier fighting the battles at home. I can’t wait to join you in the front lines back in North Carolina and we can conquer them together.

— Reporting from Iraq,
your friend and soldier from Charlotte.

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