Thursday, September 22, 2005

Grethe Cammermeyer to Speak at UW Tacoma

(Link) The Army colonel who sued the Army over its stance on booting out homosexuals in uniform -- and got her job back -- will be telling her story Sept. 22nd at Carwein Auditorium.

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LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Michael Gilbert
Tacoma News-Tribune

Two retired officers who have challenged the discrimination policy against gays and lesbians in the military will speak tonight at the University of Washington Tacoma.

Retired Army Col. Grethe Cammermeyer and Alan Steinman, a retired Coast Guard rear admiral, will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. at Carwein Auditorium in the Keystone Building on the downtown Tacoma campus, on Pacific Avenue at South 19th Street.

Cammermeyer was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for her work as a nurse in Vietnam and later became chief nurse of the Washington National Guard.

She was discharged in 1992 after she disclosed during a security interview that she was a lesbian.

She sued and prevailed in U.S. District Court in Seattle and was reinstated to her job in 1994, then retired in 1997 after 31 years of military service. She lives on Whidbey Island.

Steinman, of DuPont, is a doctor who served in the Coast Guard 25 years and was distinguished for his expertise on hypothermia and research into human survival at sea. He retired in 1997.

He revealed himself to be gay in a New York Times opinion piece published in 2003, on the 10th anniversary of Congress’ passage of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The law was intended to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military so long as they keep their sexual orientation private.

A constitutional challenge by 12 former service members is pending in the federal courts.

Tonight’s free public event is sponsored by the Tacoma chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; the Rainbow Center of Tacoma; the Gay Straight Alliance of UW Tacoma; the UW Tacoma Office of Student Life; and the Puget Sound chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights.