Memorial Day Reflections: Honoring Unsung Fallen LGBTQ Service Members

Let's remember the unsung LGBTQ service members this Memorial Day This post is about celebrating the fallen LGBTQ soldiers that are often shunned, discriminated against and even killed as they give their lives to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Memorial Day Reflections: Honoring Unsung Fallen LGBTQ Service Members
Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Why Are We Celebrating

I hate most holidays. They have mostly become commercialized, simply another way for businesses to make a quick buck off of consumers. But I take my military holidays seriously.

For many of us, this entire weekend is about cookouts, sales, watching fireworks, fellowshipping with family and friends. For others, this weekend is about honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave their lives serving in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

It’s one of the most selfless acts a person can do in my opinion. Someone I didn’t know died fighting on my behalf so I can do what I do safely every day.

It’s a sacrifice I’ll never be able to repay.

Remembering Is Personal For Me

Coming from a military family, I realize how much military personnel sacrifice day in and day out, year after year so we can sit around and bitch about whatever we feel like.

I have had a number of older relatives who served in the U.S. military who were closeted because being “out” wasn’t acceptable. Being outed could have cost them their military career. Many soldiers kept their mouths shut and their business to themselves, not only to protect themselves from harm, but also to protect the nation.

I have had gay family members who served this country in several conflicts, but all they are remembered for is their sexual orientation.

What a shame.

The Sacrifices

Many LGBTQ soldiers were outted as gay by fellow soldiers and not allowed to serve. Some soldiers were killed by their fellow comrades while on active duty.

Read these painful stories below to see how far back prejudice and discrimination within the military goes.

Homosexual Sailor Beaten to Death, Navy Confirms : Crime: Gay-bashing may be motive, activists and…
SAN DIEGO - Confronted with charges of a cover-up, Navy officials have confirmed that a sailor about to be discharged…
Ousted as Gay, Aging Veterans Are Battling Again for Honorable Discharges
COLUMBUS, Ohio - When the Army discharged Pvt. Donald Hallman in 1955 for being what it called a "Class II homosexual,"…

Have you ever given any thought about the queer service members who lost their lives to serve a country that doesn’t respect them?

If you haven’t, you should. There are a lot of things going on in the world you don’t know about. Don’t take your freedom for granted. It comes with a price tag, and we all need to remember this.

Honor Them By Remembering Them

As we celebrate another holiday weekend, please note this isn’t just another time to party. Monday is a day set aside to remember those who have sacrificed their lives so that we may live and be free, fight against discrimination, and love who we want.

These brave, unsung heroes sacrificed the truth of themselves. Let us never forget them.

Be safe, be cognizant, be PROUD, and remember our fallen LGBTQ service members who died in times when being “out” wasn’t allowed.

In memory of our nation’s unsung LGBTQ fallen heroes this Memorial Day.

– Marley K.