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00:00:15OFF CAMERA So you, you said you were in the reserves? Inactive duty?

00:00:20PATIENT Well, I was inactive duty. But then I learned that they are using the stop-loss policy to extend our active duties. We have to all return to Iraq for another tour.

00:00:30OFF CAMERA Was that upsetting?

00:00:30PATIENT I can’t even begin to describe what I am feeling.

00:00:35OFF CAMERA Tell me about why you decided to make an appointment with a psychiatrist.

00:00:40PATIENT Some questions I can answer. Sadness. Fear I guess. But other, other questions I can’t find the answers to.


00:01:00OFF CAMERA Go ahead.

00:01:05PATIENT You know how they repealed the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy? Well, I’m struggling if I should… You don’t have to report what I tell you, do you?

00:01:20OFF CAMERA Well, it’s similar to civilian life, the military is under the same HIPPA laws. So if somebody, if one wants to



look at your record, medical, only medical personnel can look in your record and only with a medical reason. And, no one else is allowed access. Any private, personal issues you have, which don’t break a law or a military rule, those are not reported. Someone could always illegally access your record, but that would be prosecuted.

00:02:00PATIENT Good. I guess you can figure out, well, I can’t figure out whether I should tell people when I go back.

00:02:15OFF CAMERA So have you been weighing the pros and cons of, the advantages and disadvantages about telling people about your sexuality?

00:02:25PATIENT Everyday.

00:02:25OFF CAMERA What do you feel are the pressures for you to tell people?

00:02:30PATIENT It’s miserable enough being over there just being a soldier, on top of that you have to listen to all these gay comments: “Oh Johnston, you look a fag when you wear your head gear like that.”

00:02:45OFF CAMERA Uh, huh. Who is Johnston?

00:02:45PATIENT He’s one of my best friends.

00:02:50OFF CAMERA Is he gay or someone who has homosexual-type thoughts?

00:02:55PATIENT Johnston. No. Never.

00:02:55OFF CAMERA Why do you say that?

00:03:00PATIENT I don’t know. I can just feel it, sense it, that he’s not gay.

00:03:05OFF CAMERA Okay. So, if I play, permit me to play the devil’s advocate, maybe there are others feel they know, can already feel whether you are gay or not.

00:03:15PATIENT No. I hide it. I’m very careful.

00:03:20OFF CAMERA Uh huh. I see.

00:03:20PATIENT If I told the other people in my unit, the men and the women, they’d be surprised. I promise.

00:03:30OFF CAMERA So you think that they all fell for the “lies” as you call it, about your sexuality?

00:03:35PATIENT Absolutely. Well, I think “absolutely.” I mean, I mean they wouldn’t feel free to make all the comments like they do if they thought that I were…

00:04:00OFF CAMERA Have you ever talked with anyone in your unit about your private, sexual thoughts,

00:04:05PATIENT No.

00:04:05OFF CAMERA Private sexual feelings?

00:04:05PATIENT No. Never.

00:04:05OFF CAMERA Do others talk with you about their sexual thoughts and feelings?

00:04:10PATIENT Like 59 minutes out of every hour, every day.

00:04:15OFF CAMERA Ah. Everyone?

00:04:20PATIENT Well, almost everyone. I mean some people are more private, stand offish.

00:04:25OFF CAMERA Yeah. So what do you fear could happen if you talk wit them?

00:04:30PATIENT They wouldn’t feel comfortable around me. In the showers. Patting me on the back. Guy hugs. Sleeping in close quarters.



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00:04:45OFF CAMERA So some people, men and women, if they knew you were gay, they’d treat you differently. But hard it’s know in advance the exact gains and losses. All you know is that it would be different.

00:05:05PATIENT That it would feel lousy for somebody to get up and move away from me because they thought that I would… do something with them.

00:05:15OFF CAMERA Some may very well feel that way. Do you ever have sexual thoughts about any of the men in your unit?

00:05:25PATIENT Mild curiosity maybe about what you know someone looks like or something, undressed. But not actually having sex kinds of thoughts. I have thoughts of wanting to be close, but that’s, that’s not sexual. I mean with women, too. I enjoy close friendships.

00:05:55OFF CAMERA Sounds like… your own feelings are just a little bit confused separating out friendship and sexual feelings.

00:06:05PATIENT Well, I’ve never been in an on-going relationship. I mean a few times fooling around. A couple years back.

00:06:20OFF CAMERA Do you have doubts about whether you prefer women or if you prefer men?

00:06:25PATIENT No. No doubts. I’ve known since I was 8 what kind of… nude photos, later internet pics, videos, I like to look at. Just no real-life experiences.

00:06:45OFF CAMERA So it sounds like you feel pretty confident about your sexuality?

00:06:50PATIENT I’m gay. I know I’m gay.

00:06:55OFF CAMERA So who else, other than me just now, have you ever said those words to?

00:07:00PATIENT “I’m gay?”

00:07:00OFF CAMERA Yes.

00:07:05PATIENT Just you. Just now.

00:07:05OFF CAMERA So you don’t have experience in telling people. You haven’t practiced that skill.

00:07:15PATIENT I never thought about that as a skill.

00:07:20OFF CAMERA Well you have the skill, it sounds like of thinking whether or not you are gay, which many people don’t even have that skill, But you are lacking in two skills. You have a little difficulty, little confusion about, thinking about separating friendships from sexual relations and then your lacking in that skill of telling people that you are gay. And not having those two skills, sometimes that scares people.

00:07:50PATIENT Try terrifies.

00:07:55OFF CAMERA Terrifies. Well, over the years, listening to people like I do with similar concerns, it’s, it’s clear to me that there are several skills in talking about one’s own sexuality. There are bad ways, bad timing for telling people about your sexuality. And there are good ways, better timing.

00:08:20PATIENT Guess that makes sense.

00:08:25OFF CAMERA And then another skill is recognizing that there are people who won’t want to learn directly from you about your sexuality, and there are people who do not want to learn it directly from you. Maybe because of their religious beliefs, or their cultural backgrounds, or even their lack of thinking about sexuality. So it’s a skill to look at people, talk to people and learn to sense their attitudes. So you don’t confront them and surprise them or alarm them.

00:09:00PATIENT But these people, they’re supposed to be learning about sexuality in workshops and all, right?

00:09:05OFF CAMERA How many times have you gone to class, learning, only to later discover it was more difficult to apply what you learned?

00:09:15PATIENT Lots of times.

00:09:20OFF CAMERA Yeah. So maybe one day, people will come into the military and talk open about sexuality and early in their meeting people, but not now. We’re not there now. I think we have to be realistic.


00:09:40OFF CAMERA You look confused. Maybe confusion’s okay. It’s a confusing topic at this point in our history.

00:09:55PATIENT What other “skills” am I missing?

00:10:00OFF CAMERA Well… What about dealing with rejection?

00:10:05PATIENT Rejection? Damn.

00:10:10OFF CAMERA Yep. That’s a skill. Think about it. Lots of celebrities and politicians, they have to be really superb at dealing with rejection. That’s a skill. If you tell people you are gay, there are people who will walk away from you. Those people may need time to go think about it. About what you shared with them. You’ve had lots of time to think about sexuality. Maybe they have not. You can expect that some of those people will come around and later be accepting. Other people who walk away from you, may feel deceived, and they may never, never come back to your side.

00:10:55PATIENT That what scares me.

00:10:55OFF CAMERA And you have to plan ahead for that. Rehearse it in your head, maybe rehearse with accepting friends, or counselors, people, about how you are going to deal with those moments. That’s, that’s a skill.


00:11:20OFF CAMERA You look sad about that.

00:11:25PATIENT I used to worry about rejection. And it just made me want to die.

00:11:35OFF CAMERA Kill yourself?

00:11:35[Shakes head “Yes”]

00:11:40OFF CAMERA Any thoughts like that now?

00:11:40PATIENT Not for years. I’ve seen too many people come out of the closet and do fine. I mean not so much people I know, but from TV, internet, hearing their stories.

00:12:00OFF CAMERA In your unit, if you tell people, do you feel people may threaten your safety? Not watch your back when you’re in danger?

00:12:15PATIENT Naw. The people in my unit are amazing. It’s more the small, the subtle looks, the… Feeling like I wasn’t with them I mean I don’t mean to sound like a pussy, but… These men, they’re all I have. Day after day. They’re right there, and I don’t… I don’t want to feel like I’m on the outside.


00:13:05OFF CAMERA So back when you were with the unit, did you feel like they were with you, when you were not truthful with them?

00:13:20PATIENT I guess not. They couldn’t be with me. I wasn’t being real. I used to dream that what I had was real. I want that to end. Not being real.


00:13:55OFF CAMERA What are you thinking?

00:14:05PATIENT That I still don’t have my answer. I have lots more weighing of pros and cons to do. Maybe that’s okay. Brush up on the skills, as you call them, while I prepare to… To tell them. How do I start? I wish I could use stop loss and take you with me.

00:14:35OFF CAMERA [Laugh] Thank you for inviting me.

00:14:40PATIENT You’re welcome.

00:14:45OFF CAMERA I’ll tell you what, let me talk to a few people. See if… If I can identify someone with whom you can talk with overseas. But in the meantime… Let’s, you and me… At least have a session or two before you leave. Okay?

00:15:05PATIENT Sure.



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