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Buzz Feed News spoke to LGBT veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War era, Desert Storm, and the Iraq War to hear their personal experiences of resisting discrimination and fighting the tenacious battle for equality in the armed forces.As the son of Holocaust survivors, Vietnam-era veteran Denny Meyer was raised to believe that there was nothing more important than speaking up in the face of oppression.Meyer said he and his best friend Charlie came out to each other on Long Island after sneaking into the 1964 World’s Fair with a group of friends.When the other boys decided to head back home for dinner, Meyer and Charlie stayed behind.“We walked arm in arm through the fair and Charlie began an hours-long monologue about himself while the fireworks exploded overhead,” said Meyer.
From then on I knew I was going to be gay, forever and ever,” he said, laughing.“When [sailors] got caught doing things on the base or something, I’d written up their discharge, had written up their confessions, and had them signed — did all that bullshit.” Despite his precarious position of authority, Bremerman seized every opportunity available to secretly warn sailors accused of homosexuality before they confessed.“I’d tell them, keep your mouth shut; don’t sign anything, even if they threaten to send you to the brig for six months, or a year or two years,” said Bremerman.While carrying out his duties in the clerical office, Bremerman learned that the brig was often an empty threat used to manipulate sailors into confessing, and he was determined to help his fellow seamen avoid punishment for expressing their sexuality.“I was openly gay in college, having a wonderful time.
The anti-war protests were raging and I was neutral, but then my classmates, who took their freedom for granted, burned the American flag and it pushed my button. It’s time to pay my country for my family’s freedom,” said Meyer.
Meyer enlisted and served in the Navy and Army Reserve for a total of 10 years, from 1968 to 1978.