Asked by Anonymous
First off, thanks for the question. The answers I have for you may seem disheartening right now, but remember you’re not alone. A lot of couples make it work, even though we have more hurdles than our heterosexual counterparts. So here’s the deal: You and your girlfriend will be apart while she’s in basic, and most likely while she’s in her technical training (AIT). The length of her technical training will depend on the job she chooses. You can visit her while she’s in AIT, but she will still be in training status, so her ability to get time off will be very limited. During her technical training, you’ll be in a limbo status since neither one of you will know where she’s going to be stationed. Just try not to stress and/or fight about it. It’s completely out of your (and her) control. Once she gets her first assignment, you should be able to follow her there. The Army likes to keep their single (i.e., unmarried by federal definition) soldiers in the barracks for a while (a few years, at least), so you will most likely have to get a nearby apartment where she’ll live with you on weekends, etc. Once she gets high enough in rank, she should be able to move off base. If she gets orders overseas, it becomes more complicated. You’ll have to find your own legal means (i.e., work or student visa) of staying in whatever foreign country she’s stationed in, or do the long-distance thing.
There is going to be a lot of sacrifice for the both of you, so you need to communicate about it as much as possible and have a plan of sorts before she leaves for basic. Make sure you are both completely and utterly determined to make it work before you uproot your life and potentially sacrifice your career. I hope this helps answer your questions, and I wish you both the best of luck. If you have any other specific questions, please let me know. My ex-girlfriend of five years was a civilian, so I know exactly where you’re coming from.
Please go to this website immediately, and/or like them on Facebook. The American Military Partner Association has great information and support for LGBT military families!
Asked by Anonymous
First off, thanks for the great question. Unfortunately, due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Department of Defense cannot recognize same-sex partners as military dependents. Which means that your wife will not receive any dependent-related benefits. However, there are a few benefits that you as a military member can designate to anyone, including your wife. For example (from the SLDN website):
1. Beneficiary of Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) payments
2. Receipt of unused contributions from Post Vietnam-Era Veterans Assistance Program (VEAP) and the Montgomery G.I. Bill Death Benefit, as long as the person is also designated as an SGLI beneficiary
3. Beneficiary of Thrift-Savings Plan (TSP)
4. Retirement annuity under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), as long as the service member is not in an opposite-sex marriage and does not have a dependent child
5. Beneficiary for Death Gratuity and Beneficiary for Unpaid Pay/Allowances on DD Form 93
6. Appointment as the Designated Caregiver of a wounded service member during recovery, under the Wounded Warrior Act
7. Appointment as the caregiver of the service member’s children on a Family Care Plan if the service member is deployed.
Please see the Service Members’ Legal Defense Network website for more info (http://www.sldn.org/pages/family-benefits)
I hope this answered your question. :)
After a ridiculously long break; this blog is back in action. I’ve been prepping for deployment, so now that I’m on the other side of the world, I’ll have plenty of time for questions. So bring ‘em on! :)
OutServe is a new magazine geared towards GLB individuals who serve in the armed forces and hits shelves on Sept. 20th, the same day that the Pentagon plans to formally end enforcement of the military’s long-standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
The publication is available to all service members (though in limited supply) and focuses on issues concerning GLB people serving openly in the military (and probably some pictures of hot officers in uniforms too!). And this it the first of its kind, which makes it super special.
Read up a little more on this publication and other news about what’s next after the repeal of DADT HERE
GQ has posted a lengthy article in its latest issue about the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
They interviewed dozens of gay servicemembers, from World War II veterans in their late eighties to young servicemen on active duty, on life in the military as a gay man.
It’s both shockingly sad and really hopeful.
Definitely worth a read. Check it out online here.
Jessica Lohmeier, who served in the Army Reserves for two years, had a boy in 2009. She told WILX News that after raising James with her partner Lauren Russell for two years, she is ready to reenlist. However, the military requires that all parents with full custody of their children, like Lohmeier, show a marriage license as proof that a spouse will be able to take care of the child if the enlisted parent is assigned overseas. The policy states that the military may not “enlist an unmarried individual with a child under 18,” according to the report. But because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, there is no form of recognition for their relationship, even if they were to wed or enter a domestic partnership or civil union in another state.