Struggles of a Military Academy

Discussion in 'Coming Out' started by NSmithy, Jun 2, 2018.

  1. NSmithy

    NSmithy New Member

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    So I want to clarify that I have never posted before and don't really know how this goes... but one thing that I know is for certain is that my views do not represent that of the military or the academies.

    I will be a senior at one of the service academies this coming school year. Academies are four-year military college institutions in which you graduate and immediately become a line officer.

    As you can imagine, the culture of a service academy is conservative. There are definitely people who are openly in the LGBT community but it small and private.

    I struggled enormously senior year of high school with my parents and went through the whole secret girlfriend thing with the conservative parents, the almost getting kicked out of the home, then the sweeping under the rug/elephant in the room issue. I thought that once I reached college it would get easier, but it didn't.

    There is a constant fear that coming out will result in losing my friends and community. An Academy is not an easy place to be. I literally trust my friends with my life. They are my brothers and sisters at arms. Unfortunately, many of them are very conservative or religious. I fear that coming out will isolate me and it is impossible to survive that school alone. I love the school and will be heartbroken if that happens.

    I tried seeing if I can reach out to communities outside of the academy. Perhaps if I got involved with people outside the military it would get easier. Unfortunately, I have been unsuccessful. Many bi/lesbian girls I have interacted with outside of school have such a stigma against the military (and the current government) that I am written off. I know this does not represent everyone, but I happen to have seen a lot of this.

    Eventually, I am going to have to come out one way or another, but when do I know the right time and place? Or does anyone just have any advice? At the end of the day, I am just a young woman trying to finish up college...
     
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  2. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    Whoo boy.....

    I'll tell you the story of a headstrong 18 year old who wanted to be a pilot. Who...from the time she was 13 had aspirations of going to a certain academy, and EVERYBODY knew it...She did everything..everything she could...and people took notice...She had her congressional appointment (from a Republican no doubt)..her physical exams, her interviews...but then she pissed it away....

    Yes, that was me.

    It came down to something holding me back...I couldn't sign that last piece of paper and in tears torpedo'd the life and plans my family had for me...though I wasn't sure why at the time. I pretended like it was the words I heard in my interview....i.e. "we'll try to accommodate what you want to do but we'll use you where your strengths fit us best..."...I pretended that it was also the fact that back then it was tougher on women and that me, as a headstrong young woman, didn't want people making decisions for me...

    In retrospect, I still regret turning that down...and it haunts me. What if? Who could I have been? Did I make the biggest mistake of my life?

    Flash forward...I took a different path...found success...but now I realize that a big part of why I did what I did back then was because I had this internal struggle with who I was that I didn't even recognize it fully...at 18 I had no clue as to the person I was meant to be or who I was in terms of identity. What I cannot imagine is ....what would have happened if I figured things out WHILE at a service academy (and this was when you couldn't be gay and in the military). I would've been in constant fear, I suppose....

    I don't tell many people this story...only those truly close to me know...

    You've been handed a tremendous opportunity...so play that game for all it's worth so long as it makes YOU happy and is what YOU want to do...there has to be a way to find a balance in also living honestly with yourself as to the person you are. And though people will disagree with me...if you feel you must remain in the closet for the time being...there's no harm in self preservation (I chose the closet for a long time, too..much to the chagrin of others, including past girlfriends). You may be judged for who you are...but you also might be judged for not being honest with the people you trust with your life...that's a tough spot in which to be....and I really don't have any insight because remember..I bailed long before I ever was faced with being in that same position. I cannot even begin to fathom how difficult this must be for you because...well, because I never allowed myself to be put in this position.

    As to the other bi and lesbian women who might stigmatize you for being in the military....ignore them. I find it galling that lgbt women ...instead of building people up...will still judge after all the judgment cast toward us.

    As for how you handle things now? I wish I had sage advice...I really do...but hang in there and just know that there are people out there who will support you, who will build you up no matter where you go in life.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
    Nancy, NSmithy and greylin like this.
  3. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I am sorry you feel so isolated. Please feel free to talk here. I would not encourage my friends to come out unless they feel safe and it is a matter of getting enough support to finish school and starting their new life. I hope that by thinking of some things as temporary would help relief some pressures on you.
     
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  4. NSmithy

    NSmithy New Member

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    Spygirl,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's nice to know that there are others who understand the ridiculous effort it takes to just apply to one of these schools and not to mention the stress involved to actually sign the paper.

    I also struggled with the final step of signing the paperwork much more than I anticipated. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for the women who have gone through the process before me. I am sorry that it did not work out like you dreamed. At a young age, it is crazy that cadets sign 9 years to military service.

    It looks like the unfortunate truth is that I'll have to play my cards close to my chest. Who knows what will happen in the future...
     
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  5. Spygirl

    Spygirl Well-Known Member

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    Other dreams happened though :)

    Just because I didn't go to a service academy doesn't mean that I blew other opportunities or never found success....it just meant a different path for me...equally challenging, yet also very rewarding. Sure, I regret and question what if...but at the same time, things also worked out and I wouldn't dream of changing where I am and what I've built in this life. I'm sure there are always times where I say...I could've been a doctor or a pilot or .....I guess it comes down to the fact that we'll always wonder what would've happened if we'd gone down the road less travelled...

    Know that no matter what...you're not alone in this. We're here for support and if you ever need to talk, feel free to message me.
     
    #5

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